A.L. Prensky and H. S. Palkes CARE OF THE NEUROLOGICALLY HANDICAPPED CHILD: A HANDBOOK FOR PARENTS AND PROFESSIONALS New York: Oxford University Press. 1982, $24.95.
A major thesis of this book is that parents of the neurologically handicapped child must be advocates for their child and take an informed active role in the evaluation and treatment. There are three major sections: 1) normal and abnormal development and identification of a handicap; 2) role of physicians and other professionals involved in the interdisciplinary approach; and 3) most common neurologic conditions in childhood.
The early chapters devoted to normal and abnormal development use sample cases and commentary to allow parents to become familiar with and understand the process of an evaluation in practical terms. High risk factors such as low Apgar scores and extreme prematurity are explained. Developmental screening and diagnostic tests such as EEG and tests for genetic and metabolic disorders are discussed.
The primary physician, who is the pediatrician or family practice specialist, is the "hub of the wheel" of care for the patient and family. The roles of the pediatrie neurologists, psychologist, physical and occupational therapists, educator, speech pathologist, social worker, nurse and lawyer are well explained. This section is helpful to the pediatrician and other professionals to give them an update on current approaches in the various disciplines and also on the specific legal and educational rights of the handicapped. The information gleaned from these chapters enables parents to ask relevant questions and pursue appropriate channels from a base of knowledge.
Chapters on specific conditions include: epilepsy, cerebral palsy, birth defects, mental retardation, neuromuscular disease, learning disabilities, language disorders and hyperactivity. Conditions are defined and illustrated with cases. The roles of the professionals are explained in terms of the specific handicap. Each chapter is self contained with cross references. For example, the parent of a child with cerebral palsy can read that chapter and get a comprehensive picture. If the child also has seizures or mental retardation, the parents are referred to those sections in the text. In the chapter on cerebral palsy, pictures of specific positions and devices for support and self care are illustrated and the role of the orthopedist is discussed.
This volume is valuable for the practicing pediatrician and other professionals as well as parents working with neurologically handicapped children. It provides practical information and serves as an update to the approach and available resources for these children to help them achieve their fullest potential.