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This book from the Mac Keith Press is multi-authored by neurodisability paediatricians who are active clinicians. Thus it is full of practical advice and information relevant to general and community paediatricians as well as allied health professionals; all are the intended audience for the book. It is comprehensive and clearly presented with vignettes to illustrate points, and I particularly liked the layout on each page with a mix of text, charts, diagrams, boxes, and ‘learning points’.

The approach to disability taken throughout is that of holistic care. The section on ‘Frameworks for family support’ includes chapters by Robinson, Williams, Allard, Lenehen, and Treml. It is very helpful, although with legislation so constantly changing, a challenge to keep updated! The cultural perspective outlined in ‘Partnership with families’ in the chapter by Seal is similarly very helpful.

The tone of the book is set from the opening chapters which cover concepts of disability, the ICF, and Quality of Life measures. It would have been helpful to have included a discussion about the ICD or DSM as well, concepts of categories and dimensions and the whole notion of dividing development into different developmental disorders which so often overlap!

In a multi-author book there are inevitable differences in style although the formatting has eliminated many. Particularly good chapters are included in the section on ‘Specific conditions and disorders’, e.g. cerebral palsy (Williams and Kelly), attention difficulties (Harpin), epilepsy (Williams), and autism spectrum disorders (Parr), to pick a few out of a very well-written section.

It is always difficult to know how much to put in about normal stages of development in a book about neurodisability, yet the context of ‘normal’ or ‘typical’ development and behavior remains as important in neurodisability as in any other area of child health. There is a chapter on child development by Kelly in which the focus is on the young child rather than the older child or adolescent and so there is little about stages of cognitive, emotional, social, and moral development or executive function. While alertness to early developmental problems is emphasized through surveillance, this is not intended to be a comprehensive overview of screening and there is appropriate reference to Muir Gray's book in the ‘Prevention of disability and health promotion’ chapter (Seal). The Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT) is thus in my view given more prominence than the sensitivity and specificity warrant compared with, for example, M-CHAT for autism spectrum disorder or Glascoe's Parents' Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS) for any developmental problem.

The weakest area in the book I found was in behaviour problems and mental health disorders. It seems odd to start a chapter on common behavior problems with attachment disorders and yet have little here about feeding, sleeping, and temper tantrums for young children and other problems for older age groups. A separate chapter on mental health disorders and comorbidities would have been desirable as would a complete chapter on ‘looked-after children’ who tend to have complex presentations and are often seen within the neurodisability services.

In the comprehensive and excellent section on genetics (Suri and Kelly), CGH array is described and the need for ‘the family to understand the implications before commencing testing’ is mentioned, but perhaps not sufficiently covered as many CNV differences are identified without always bringing the clarity hoped for.

In the chapter on paroxysmal movement disorders (Robinson), I was uncertain about the subdivision of disorders starting in early childhood versus ‘not linked with age’, as many in the latter section are of early childhood onset. Stereotypies are included in nonepileptic paroxysmal disorders, as are tics. The common association of stereotypies with ASD (which may also be a presenting symptom) might have been mentioned. Tics are described here and a few more clinical features, e.g. the premonitory urge, suggestibility, and age of onset, could add to helpful differential diagnosis in Table 10.1. The reader is referred to page 221 at this point – which I turned to. Was the ‘further reading’ the referent intended?

The chapters included in the section ‘Caring for the child with disability’ are all very helpful. The feeding chapter (Kelly and Harrison) has much more on structural/neurological feeding problems than behavioural feeding difficulties/restricted food intake disorder, which is also a source of great family distress and needs a specific approach usually located in the neurodisability team. The book ends with a chapter on planning for the end of life (Wolff and Kelly). Toni Wolff has influenced many with her sensitive and successful approach to this difficult topic.

The appendix has behavior and sleep charts, guidance on ‘Disclosing difficult news to families’, and both a school treatment and emergency health care plan.

The criticisms of this text are minor and correctable in what I am sure will be a sought-after second edition. I can recommend this book to anyone managing/working with children or young people with neurodisability and their families.