by Gillian Holtz, Nancy Helm-Estrabrooks, Nickola Wolf Nelson, Elena Plante, Baltimore, MD, Brookes Publishing, 2010, Examiners Manual 128 pp, Stimulus Book 36 pp, Test Forms (Package of 10) 20 pp, Hardcover, $349.95
Children who sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) confront a number of obstacles in their recovery and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, our ability to quantify and qualitatively assess each child's cognitive-linguistic strengths and weaknesses is not well standardized. There are very few assessment batteries that focus specifically on this population. Identifying a valid and reliable instrument is often challenging, and typical speech, language, and cognitive standardized tests do not always provide the specific information to thoroughly assess pediatric patient with TBI.
The Pediatric Test of Brain Injury (PTBI) is a practical evaluation tool for use in a variety of settings including acute care, outpatient, and the academic environment. It provides comprehensive information to inform formulation of treatment individualized plans and to monitor ongoing progress throughout the course of treatment and recovery. The PTBI provides an assessment of areas in language and cognition that other comprehensive tests for cognitive-linguistic deficits do not evaluate. These areas include immediate and delayed story retelling, picture recall, and inferencing abilities. Additionally, the age range for the PTBI is 6 to 16 years. This includes the 12- to 15-year-old population, an age range previously lacking in standardized cognitive-linguistic assessments.
The Pediatric Test of Brain Injury: Examiner's Manual is easy to read and provides adequate information for administration, scoring, and interpretation. Directions for administering the test in 2 sessions, if needed, are clearly discussed. The manual also provides helpful information for determining treatment goals based on findings. Criterion-referenced scoring provides a nontraditional, comprehensive means for assessing abilities, which is easy to follow.
Cognitive-linguistic tasks in each subtest maintain a child's interest, and the evaluation is administered in a manner in which a child does not feel like they are being “tested.” Orientation questions are age appropriate. The Word Fluency section focuses not only on concrete categorization but also on abstract categorization tasks. The stories provided in the Story Retelling section are age appropriate and up to date. A child can often relate to the characters in the story. When administering the Yes/No/Maybe subtest, a clinician can gain information about a child's ability to inference higher level linguistic information in addition to assessing basic comprehension.
We strongly recommend PTBI as an assessment tool for children with TBI for speech-language pathologists as well as for other professionals involved with this population in acute care, outpatient, and academic settings.
Disclosure: The author declares no conflict of interest.
Ann Milanese, MD
Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
University of Connecticut School of Medicine
Taryn Rogers, MA, CCC/SLP
Connecticut Children's Medical Center