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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 139  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 652-653

Clinical assessment and management of childhood psychiatric disorders

Child Guidance Clinic, Institute of Child Health & Hospital for Children, Egmore, Chennai 600 008, India

Date of Web Publication9-Jun-2014

Correspondence Address:
V Jayanthini
Child Guidance Clinic, Institute of Child Health & Hospital for Children, Egmore, Chennai 600 008
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Jayanthini V. Clinical assessment and management of childhood psychiatric disorders. Indian J Med Res 2014;139:652-3

How to cite this URL:
Jayanthini V. Clinical assessment and management of childhood psychiatric disorders. Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Apr 23];139:652-3. Available from:

2 nd ed., Savita Malhotra (CBS Publishers and Distributors Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi) 2013. 226 pages. Price: not mentioned

ISBN: 978-81-239-2209-6

As the title rightly states, this book provides a comprehensive insight into the clinical assessment and management aspects of childhood psychiatric disorders. With its 12 concise yet informative chapters, this edition not only serves as a basic textbook for students, but also as a reference guide for clinical practitioners owing to its content. The structured details on practical diagnostic and treatment aspects of various childhood psychiatric disorders along with useful scales for the assessment of the same from an Indian perspective is particularly appreciable.

The vital role of family, school and environment ratifies the statement 'it takes a village to raise a child'. Primary prevention in terms of school mental health, equal importance to risk factors and protective factors provides a balanced view. Approaches to interviews which has immense clinical value and interview techniques with practical applications will empower students and professionals alike in dealing with the idiosyncrasies while assessing the children. It supersedes our expectations in terms of neurodevelopmental assessment in infants, from neonatal period to infancy through adolescence, by means of flow charts presented in an easily readable format.

Emphasis is on comprehensive evaluation including cognitive (tests of intelligence, memory, neuropsychological and learning), personality and projective tests. A battery of subtests, purpose of assessment, sample items and various aspects of important tests serve as appropriate references. Typographical errors (e.g., Gesell and Connor have been wrongly spelt several times) could have been avoided. However, standardized scales such as Denever, Bayley and Vineland have been mentioned in a clear format. The Intelligence scales including Malin's Coloured Progressive Matrices, Kaufmann's battery, Binet scale and Wechsler's scales have been explained in detail. A Table on neuropsychological functions and the related tests serves as a ready reckoner for clinical purposes.

The significance of developing clinical scales suited to Indian population is clearly stated. Screening instruments including Rutter's Achenbach's checklist, Strengths and difficulties questionnaire and Developmental psychopathology checklist with their Indian adaptations elucidate the availability of culturally valid tools for assessment. Assessment scales for depression, anxiety, phobia, obsession, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), eating disorders and Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD) are of immense clinical value. A detailed description of scales viz., Temperamental measurement schedule, Life events scale, Childhood psychopathology Measurement scale and Parental handing Questionnaires have been stated along with their validity and reliability, which also has been included in the appendix. These can be utilized for screening, measuring and quantifying psychopathology and also for assessing improvement post intervention.

Regarding treatment and management of childhood disorders, an inclusive approach of biological, organic, psychological and social factors has been explained. Problems related to emotions, behaviour, conduct, and learning and development serve as general guidelines. The author specifies the lack of trained professionals, inadequate knowledge and awareness, as barriers to the impetus which child psychiatry needs in the current Indian scenario.

Parental counselling in terms of emotions, communication, temperament, harmony in relationships and parenting style are pointers in a positive direction. In depth analysis of family therapy includes parent skills training - effective listening, problem solving skills, consistency and reasoning and above all being a role model to our children. Lucid guidelines on play therapy, pharmacotherapy (table included), indications for behaviour therapy, cognitive behavioural strategies provide therapeutic guidelines. Management of autistic spectrum disorders, mental retardation and learning disorders gives a robust picture in terms of treatment planning and implementation. Conceptual error in explaining negative reinforcement and punishment interchangeably needs to be rectified.

A special note on Adolescence inclusive of physical, cognitive, emotional and personality development indicates the strong need for emphasis on an important part of growing up. The various psychiatric disorders, problems in family and school and multimodal therapy approaches have been well explained. The chapter on Psychiatric emergencies, in manoeuvering violent, aggressive and suicidal behaviour is the need of the hour. Providing references at the end of every chapter, glossary of terms and the provision for scales towards the end, adds another feather in the second edition. Including a section on Healthy parenting and providing Gesell's drawing at the end makes this book a comprehensive edition on an important aspect of child psychiatry for wholesome reading which is highly recommended.


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