Priya Edwards
Paediatric rehabilitation specialist
Royal Children’s Hospital

Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines Limited; 2012.

303 pages

This book provides a practical approach to the management of developmental disability. Several chapters have been revised and this version offers new chapters on common presentations of developmental disability, oral health, dysphagia, nutrition, preventive health care and health promotion, men’s health, fetal alcohol syndrome and neurofibromatosis type 1.

The book incorporates the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health used by the World Health Organization, refreshing the previous medical model and emphasising function, activity and participation. There are chapters focusing on the lifespan, including stages from birth, methods of delivery of information to new parents, adolescence, transition to adulthood, ageing and related medical health issues, and screening and preventive health. Issues of consent, legal framework and capacity and guardianship laws will assist with medical management.

Useful tables with checklists and highlighted boxes include differential diagnoses and appropriate referrals for developmental delay, health concerns for adolescents and adults with developmental disability, and useful questions and data sheets for monitoring challenging behaviour. These tables are clear and provide excellent summaries for a busy clinician. At the end of several chapters are clinical scenarios illustrating management points.

There are chapters devoted to the assessment, management and drug treatment of behaviour and psychiatric illnesses. Specific developmental disabilities are also covered and include Angelman syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, fragile X syndrome, neurofibromatosis type 1, Noonan syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Rett syndrome, tuberose sclerosis and Williams syndrome. References and lists of further reading allow for wider information to be sought.

The layout of the book and its size make it an easy read and excellent summary for the GP, paediatrician, adult physician and multidisciplinary team. A list of resources for each state and up-to-date telephone numbers and online resources are helpful for finding the myriad of organisations in disability.


Priya Edwards

Paediatric rehabilitation specialist, Royal Children’s Hospital Brisbane