Book Review: Measures for Children with Developmental Disabilities: An ICF-CY Approach Clinics in Developmental Medicine No. 194–195 Edited by Annette Majnemer, London: Mac Keith Press, 2012£150.00 (Hardback), pp 538. ISBN: 978-1-908316-45-5


This impressive book does not only provide a systematic overview of measures for children with developmental disabilities, it also does so within the framework of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, Children and Youth Version (ICF-CY). The latter is very helpful, as the organization within the framework of the ICF-CY will assist clinicians, researchers, and managers in health care to understand what is measured with a specific tool, and to determine which tool is most appropriate in a specific situation. In other words, the book disentangles which instrument measures which aspect of well-being of the child with a developmental disability. The aspects involved in well-being do not only include the traditional medical aspects of the properties at the level of Body Structure and Function, but also the properties at the level of Activities and Participation, as well as Personal and Environmental Factors.

The book contains 35 chapters written by different experts in the field. It starts with two general chapters. Section II consists of 14 chapters dealing with measures assessing properties at the level of Body Structure and Function, e.g. measures of global and specific mental functions and measures of sensory functions. Section III has two chapters which discuss instruments assessing global developmental function which cannot be classified further in terms of level of the ICF-CY. Examples are various developmental screening tests and the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. Section IV (10 chapters) presents tools evaluating aspects of Activities and Participation, such as communication, mobility, and self-care. The four chapters of Section V discuss tools for the evaluation of Personal and Environmental Factors, and measurements for the assessment of health care and rehabilitation services. The final section has two chapters which present tools which do not easily fit into the framework of the ICF-CY but which are highly relevant in the evaluation of children with developmental disabilities. These chapters describe the measurements providing information on health status and quality of life.

The chapters have a systematic format. They start with a description of the construct of the function which the various tools of the chapter aim to assess, e.g. what is the construct of emotional functions and what is that of experience of self and time? Next, the instruments themselves are discussed. Systematic attention is paid to the purpose of the tool, the age range in which the instrument may be applied, the contents of the measure, technical details of the tool such as testing time and testing format, psychometric properties, information on how the instrument can be ordered, and key references. For the most important instruments this information is supplied in the form of conveniently organized tables. This makes the book very user-friendly.

A minor point of criticism of the superb book is the fact that the ASEBA/Child Behavior Check List is fully discussed in three chapters (7, 9, and 10), each time in a slightly different way, which may be confusing for readers. In addition, it may be regarded a minor limitation that most instruments discussed are in general based on the English language, and usually have norms from English-speaking populations. This makes the instruments less readily available for non-English contexts. Therefore I would suggest including in the second edition of the book information on application of the measurements in non-English contexts, i.e. facts available for the different contexts and in case no such facts exist to include considerations about the applicability of the instruments in different cultural contexts. But let me be clear: these are marginal shortcomings. I am very enthusiastic about this book. It deserves to be present in every clinical setting of children with developmental disabilities.