Practice of Child-Clinical Neuropsychology: An Introduction, by Byron P. Rouke, Harry Van der Vlught and Sean P. Rouke, Swets and Zeitlinger Publishers, 2002, 339 pp., $99 in hardcover.
"Clinical" is the key word in the title that makes this text important reading for developmental-behavioral pediatricians, psychologists, and any others who want to gain an understanding of the field of neuropsychology. Many psychologists lightly attribute phenomena to a part of the brain. This easy association will be replaced by a much more complex and fundamental understanding of the roots of learning problems. Dr. Rouke emphasizes the primary sensory and motor deficits underlying learning problems.
I learned that Board certification is available for clinical neuropsychology but not yet specifically for child clinical neuropsychology. Dr. Rouke defines this specialist as one who has supervised education training in the principles of diagnosis of human behavior as it relates to the normal and abnormal function of the nervous system. This text is a blended updated version of two earlier works by Dr. Rouke and colleagues: Child Neuropsychology: An Introduction to Theory (1983) and Neuropsychological Assessment of Children: a Treatment-Oriented Approach (1986). As the editor notes in the introduction, Dr. Rourke has done "seminal work on learning disabilities subtypes, the White Matter hypothesis, and implications of nonverbal learning disabilities for social and intellectual development."
This book is well organized and indexed. It has five chapters and an extensive appendix. It covers assessment, remediation for the child with brain impairment; case studies, learning disabilities; and neurological disease, disorder, and dysfunction. The section on subtypes of learning disabilities gives primary, secondary, and tertiary academic assets and deficits. The origins of the social problems are traced back to the primary deficits.
The text does not discuss attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or mental retardation, which have volumes written about them. Its focus is learning disabilities. The appendix includes neuropsychological test-battery descriptions as well as an extensive treatment program for the child and young adolescent with nonverbal learning disabilities. This program starts with the mandate to observe the child's behavior in novel or complex situations. It goes on to help break down the program in a systematic "step-by-step" fashion.
This comprehensive book provides a much needed, concisely written resource from a leading worldwide expert. The author modestly states in his postscript that the "goal is to prime the intellectual pump of the neophyte to our field."
Hazel Goodwin, M.D.
Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center
Brooklyn, New York