Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Book Review

Children with Disabilities, Eighth Edition

Burke, Megan MD; Soares, Neelkamal MD

Author Information
Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: April 2021 - Volume 42 - Issue 3 - p 219
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000944
  • Free

After being first introduced in 1979, Children with Disabilities is now in its eighth edition. This esteemed medical textbook has content from a host of well-known experts in the fields of Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Neurology, Genetics, Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, Pediatric and School Psychology, and the many related interprofessional disciplines that serve children with disabilities. It provides students and professionals across multiple disciplines and levels of training, as well as family members and friends of children with disabilities, an in-depth review of developmental disabilities and their impact on childhood development and functioning. This edition expanded on the seventh edition to reflect the changes that have happened in this rapidly progressing field, with edits of existing chapters to reflect the most up-to-date evidence and practices and the incorporation of 7 new chapters. The book has associated Online Companion Materials to supplement this text, which include study questions and activities to reinforce knowledge of key concepts and customizable PowerPoint presentations for every chapter to assist instructors.

The tome is thorough in both the breadth and depth of topics covered. The wealth of information is organized in a manner that is logical and easy to follow: Chapters are divided into 7 sections starting with the fundamentals in “As Life Begins” and “A Child's Body: Physiology,” to “Developmental Assessments,” “Developmental disabilities,” “Associated disabilities,” “Interventions,” and “Outcomes.” Each chapter is structured to optimize learning. There are clear learning objectives listed at the beginning of each chapter, followed by a case study. Images and tables are clear and easy to understand, and the reader will appreciate the boxes highlighting interdisciplinary care and evidence-based approaches incorporated throughout.

The information provided in this textbook has been presented with care to represent children with disabilities as people first. The online materials include a series of personal letters written by Andrew Batshaw, son of the editor, at age 12 through the present, concerning the effect of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on his own life. The wording used in this text truly does emphasize the human perspective of a person with a disability, rather than identifying the individual by their diagnosis. In addition, extra steps have been taken to make this textbook inclusive for all children with disabilities, with the addition of a chapter on ethnic and racial disparities.

This textbook is often part of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) curriculum. It has been targeted to reach a large and diverse audience. As such, some readers may find areas too detailed for their own learning purposes. However, it is relatively easy to navigate, so readers may find the sections that are most applicable to their needs. Learners who are more visual may have a difficult time in the areas of the book that are text-heavy and could benefit from further diagrams or tables in these areas. Although there are tips on counseling families interspersed in the text, it may increase utility for practicing clinicians to highlight these points in a box or summary for easy access and review. For future editions, the editors may want to include chapters on emerging technology and the use of telehealth, especially in light of the changes to practice because of the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In summary, the updated edition of a well-known textbook provides an in-depth and respectful resource to understand the effects of disabilities on children's development and functioning. This book is essential for professionals or learners who will be working with children with disabilities. It will also be beneficial for advocates of these individuals including friends and family.

Copyright © 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.