When a neuropsychological assessment is done with a child, the clinician needs to have a good knowledge of the typically developing brain of children generally, and what happens to the developing brain if that brain becomes injured or diseased. This is more complex than it sounds because different areas of children’s brains develop and mature at different rates and ages, so that injury to (or disease of) a particular area of the brain at one age of a child’s life, may have a different outcome at a different age. To make it even more complex, since the development of certain parts of the brain are dependant of other areas of the brain being intact, if one area of the brain is not fully functional, it can negatively affect the other areas of the brain that are dependant on it for their own development.
Developmental Neuropsychology: A Clinical Approach provides the neuropsychologist with information necessary to understand the developing brain (what develops at what age and stage) as well as how various neuropathologies affect the developing brain. Since all brains develop generally in the same way, this book is applicable to all children, arguably largely irrespective of demographic factors, making it a useful book in the very diverse South African context.
Some of the neuropathologies covered in this book are well-known and others are less familiar. They include genetic and metabolic brain disorders (such as Klinefelter syndrome, galactasaemia, Wilson’s disease and type 1 diabetes), structural disorders of the brain (such as hydrocephalus, agenesis of the corpus callosum and craniosynostosis), perinatal brain insults, neurodevelopmental disorders (such as ADHD, Tourette syndrome, autism spectrum disorder), childhood traumatic brain injury and childhood epilepsy.
While this book touches on the neuropsychological assessment, there are other books (such as the one authored by Ida Sue Baron) that cover this topic much more comprehensively.
This book is highly recommended for any psychologists working with children, whether therapeutically or for the purposes of assessment, within the clinical, scholastic or neuropsychological contexts.
Review written by Sharon Truter, 11 May 2021.