BOOK REVIEWS

Contents 

(Click on the title to be taken to the review, or reviewer's name for biodata, or simply scroll down the page)

Epistemology of Language by Alex Barber (Editor) - Reviewer Elizabeth Winder

ADD-Friendly Ways to Organise Your Life  by Judith Kolbert and Kathleen Nadeau - Reviewer Penelope Waite

ADHD the facts by Mark Selikowitz - Reviewer Penelope Waite

Autism and Creativity by Michael Fitzgerald - Reviewer Joe Sinclair

Healing ADD by Daniel G. Amen - Reviewer Paul W. Schenk

Taking Charge of ADHD by Russell A. Barkley - Reviewer Michael Mallows

When Teams Work Best by Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson - Reviewer Terry Goodwin

Behaviour Recovery by Bill Rogers - Reviewer Mark Edwards

Special Educational Needs by Michael Farrell - Reviewer Mark Edwards

 

Epistemology of Language, edited by Alex Barber. Oxford University Press, 2003.  Price: 25.00 (Paperback)
552 pages.  ISBN: 0-19-925058-8

Epistemology - the part of philosophy that is about the study of how we know things.  This book brings together essays in four broad language areas; knowledge in linguistics, understanding, linguistic externalism, and epistemology through language. Some have been adapted from papers presented at a conference in Sheffield in July 2000; all are by linguists and philosophers in English-speaking universities.  One thing stands out - there's a lot of disagreement.  

Is psychological data relevant to linguistic theory? Is linguistics a branch of psychology, and if not, where is the boundary between the disciplines? Is there a language of thought - Mentalese - and how does this relate to public language? How do listeners put utterances which do not form complete sentences together with non-verbal indicators, to understand what the speaker means? Should such fragments - subsentential speech, to use the technical term - be studied at all?  What are desirable directions for linguistic research? These and other issues are debated. With fifteen different sections by different writers plus an introduction, to focus on the detail of a few contributions would miss the point of the book. 

It seems strange that theories about internal processing of language appear to have been more the domain of philosophers than psychologists, teachers, or other professions. I found some of the theories now being disputed made little sense, as they were illustrated by sentence examples that were theoretically possible but that would be phrased differently by speakers in my speech community. If linguistics is to make a realistic contribution to education (people acquiring language), medicine (people whose normal language abilities are altered or impaired), and possibly other disciplines, it needs to work with everyday speech - a point made by some writers.  

This book is aimed at specialists and academics. Although most essays are well written and accessible, tying theories in well with common sense examples (11th century rabbit-pots, and reading Tintin in French), the educated reader wishing to inform himself about language and linguistics ought to start with a different book altogether.  

And now back to my Asterix book. I'm reading it in German, I've learnt a lot of German that way . 

Elizabeth Winder

 

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ADD-Friendly Ways to Organise Your Life by Judith Kolbert and Kathleen Nadeau.   Brunner-Routledge,  2002,   ISBN 0-415-31117-9:   204 pages.   Price 9.99

This book purports to address the specific challenges faced by adults with Attention Deficit Disorder.  Rather helpfully it gives many examples of different situations they regularly encounter.  This enables the authors to propose an equally varied selection of strategies to help adults cope, rather than trying to apply a single strategy in every situation.

What I really liked about it was that effectively from page 1 you are able to start applying the strategies.  As the authors put it on page 6, to work with the ADD to take charge of my life.  Throughout the book, in fact, the authors reverted regularly to the same theme of working with the ADD tendencies and not against them.  This is a really helpful piece of advice.  It is a technique that I used with some success with children in the past, but without analysing precisely what I was doing.  It was instinctive.  But it helps to have it expressed so succinctly.

Actually the whole book is written and laid out in this simple to follow and easy to understand format.  This is something I find that Americans do so well.  Even the title is a perfect description of the contents.  And it is so useful to have reviews at the end of each chapter.  For an adult with ADD this can be a wonderful help, because, as the authors regularly point out, people with ADD find it difficult to cope with clutter.  They crave organisation.  Indeed, the book recommends the use of a clutter companion to support an ADD person who is less likely to be thrown into confusion by disorganisation as for example in discount stores, which are less well organised than department stores.

And this easy-to-follow, reader-friendly, well-organised method is applied to all the strategies proposed by the authors, with their tools and suggestions.  Many of the strategies  are introduced in splendidly jolly style: "to get it done, make it fun!" (de-cluttering); "if you haven't written it down, you haven't told me!" (forgetfulness - advice to others); "to add something new, subtract at least two" (de-cluttering again).  So dealing with clutter is clearly the number one priority - as it needs to be - and there are many other such tips and strategies: "save the best, recycle the rest"; "if they're all the same, one is the aim!".

All in all, therefore, not just a book to read,  but a book  to be used.  And used.  And used.

Penelope Waite

 

ADHD the facts  by Mark Selikowitz.   Oxford University Press,  2004,   P/B 242 pages.         ISBN 0-19-852628-8:     Price 11.99

It was interesting to have this book for review after having reviewed the ADD-Friendly book addressed to adults.  ADHD the facts specifically addresses problems relating to children rather than adults and is not a "do-it-yourself" type manual but rather an encyclopaedic treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder that is remarkably comprehensive considering its small (pocket-book) format.  Indeed, it could almost be sub-titled "all you ever wanted to know about ADHD and were afraid to ask".

But the book is far more than a mere description of the condition, albeit a very detailed description, because the major part of the book, some 80 pages of section 2, and a further 80 plus pages of sections 5 and 7 offer specific guidelines and suggestions to parents, teachers and health professionals for dealing with the behavioural disorder. 

ADHD was known simply as ADD until late in the 20th century when the "hyperactivity" was added to the acronym, and it is generally considered to be the most frequently encountered cause of problem behaviour and  learning difficulties in school-children.  In the first section of the book, Mark Selikowitz describes the symptoms of ADHD.  These are nowadays pretty well known, and certainly will be known to parents and teachers, but the author has succeeded in describing them in his own readable style, so that many of them appear fresh.  Nevertheless, forgetfulness, impulsivity, overactivity, noisiness, low self-esteem, clumsiness and defiant behaviour are characteristics which parents and teachers are so regularly exposed to, that Selikowitz has sensibly held this part of his book to a minimum before moving on to the section where he analyses each of these behaviours from the constructive standpoint of how to recognise where a specific symptom "comes from" and how best to handle the child betraying the symptom.

The four subsequent sections deal with the causes, diagnosis, conventional, and unconventional treatments before the author goes on to the issue of how to treat residual ADHD, where the child may not have grown out of it.   ADHD difficulties usually diminish with the onset of adolescence, but sometimes they persist into adulthood, although adults habitually tend to be able to cope with the condition and even, on occasion, turn it to their advantage.  This is a short, but quite engrossing section of the book.

As for the author, Dr. Selikowitz is a consultant developmental paediatrician based in Sydney, Australia, so someone with a lot of experience. The book is apparently the latest in a growing OUP series ("the facts") written by medical practitioners and consultants, each dealing with a different illness or medical condition.  I had not come across the series before, which is not surprising since my interest is in learning difficulties rather than general health problems.  I did note, however, that the same author has another title in the series, on dyslexia, and there is also a book on autism.  I have to say that if the others are as good as this one, they certainly are worth buying and reading.

Penelope Waite

 

Healing ADD by Daniel G. Amen, M.D.  New York:  Berkley Books, 2001.  421 pages 

It has been a while since I have found a book that is simultaneously useful to both the layperson and the clinician.  Dr. Amens presentation of, not two, but six subtypes of ADD combines a very readable discussion of neuroanatomy, pharmacology, interpersonal dynamics, and therapeutic interventions.  Or, in English, with the help of SPECT scan images, Dr. Amen provides a fascinating look at what happens in the brains of people with ADD, the ways ADD interferes with relationships, and what can be done about it from the standpoint of diet, exercise, medication, and self help psychological tools. 

Amen defines six different types of ADHD. (Amen prefers to use the ICD diagnostic terminology of ADD rather than the DSM-IV terminology of ADHD.)

Type 1 - Classic ADD Inattentive, distractible, disorganized, hyperactive, restless, and impulsive.

Type 2 - Inattentive ADD Easily distracted with a low attention span, but not hyperactive.  Instead, often appears sluggish or apathetic.

Type 3 - Overfocused ADD Excessive worrying, argumentative and compulsive, often gets locked in a spiral of negative thoughts.

Type 4 - Temporal Lobe ADD Quick temper and rage, periods of panic and fear, mildly paranoid.

Type 5 - Limbic ADD   Moodiness, low energy.  Socially isolated, chronic low-grade depression.  Frequent feelings of hopelessness.

Type 6 - Ring of Fire ADD Angry, aggressive, sensitive to noise, light, clothes and touch; often inflexible, experiencing periods of mean, unpredictable behavior, and grandiose thinking.

Utilizing a case studies approach, he provides powerful visual documentation of how each type of ADD produces patterns of diminished or excessive brain activity in particular areas.  For example, he notes that Type 1 ADD appears to be caused by a relative deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine.  Research has shown that dopamine is heavily involved in the front part of the brain (prefrontal cortex) with attention span, focus, follow-through, and motivation. Medications like Ritalin (methylphenidate), Adderall and Dexedrine increase dopamine levels.  So does cocaine, which helps explain why some adults with ADD self-medicate with it.  However, cocaine produces a much stronger, faster, but shorter lasting effect, an addictive combination.   

The newer subtypes of ADD that he identifies correlate with symptom clusters that are often overlooked: hair trigger anger and other interpersonal problems, low energy/depression, and worrying that can quickly become a downward spiral of negative thoughts.  Again, he does a nice job of combining SPECT scan images with a discussion of what functions of particular area of the brain serves.  For example, overactivity in the deep limbic system is associated with lowered motivation and depression.  Problems in this area can interfere with bonding and social connectedness.  People with Limbic ADD show overactivity in this brain area. 

Individuals with these subtypes often find that their symptoms get worse with traditional stimulant medications.  Type 4 and 6 he often treats with anticonvulsants.  Type 5 responds well to simulating antidepressants. Type 3, which seems to involve a deficiency of both serotonin and dopamine, he often treats with a combination (e.g., Effexor and Adderall). 

This is not simply a book about treating ADD with medication, however.  The second half of the book explores a number of equally important areas such as:

► The Games ADD People Play

►  The Impact of ADD on Relationships, Families, School, Work and Self-esteem

►  Effective Interventions including Diet, Exercise, Supplements, and Behavioural interventions

► Sleep, School, Parenting and Family Strategies

► Killing ADD "ANTs" (automatic negative thinking)

►  Breathing Strategies and Self-hypnotic Tools

Recognizing that many of those who read the book will be individuals with ADD, Amen organizes many of his suggestions in list format.  In his 2003 book, Healing Anxiety and Depression, he took this one step farther, organizing some of the most critical information in a four-page table. 

One final gift (in both books) is the questionnaire (and scoring key) that he uses at his clinic in California.  Both the ADD and the Anxiety/Depression questionnaires correlate well with the results from SPECT scans.  I have begun using both in my clinical practice and am pleased with the results thus far.  For example, one adult client who had previously responded well to a mix of Wellbutrin and Adderall (but not to either separately) has all the symptoms of Overfocused ADD. I have found the pictures very helpful with both teens and parents. The before and after SPECT scans are worth 1,000 words in squelching the lingering belief in some quarters that ADD is just bad parenting or lazy kids. I highly recommend Healing ADD (and the sequel, Healing Anxiety and Depression).

Paul W. Schenk, Psy.D.

 

 

Taking Charge of ADHD by Russell A. Barkley, PhD. Guilford Press. (Taylor & Francis Group), ISBN 1-57230-560-6. Revised edition 2000.  332 pages.  Price 30.50

 Russell A. Barkley is the Director of Psychology and professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre, and editor of The ADHD Report, the leading newspaper in the field.

The author states from the outset that he wrote the book in 1995 and updated it in 2000 because the available books just dont go far enough in educating parents about what is currently known about ADHD and, more important, what can be done to help those with the disorder.

He says that most of the books convey what has been gained from clinical experience but dont integrate current scientific research. In the five years between the two publication dates, for example, there were rapid advances in the molecular genetics of ADHD, with at least two genes for the disorder being reliably identified. These findings continue to underscore the conclusionthat ADHD is a largely biologically caused disorder that has a substantial genetic / hereditary basis.

This is not everybodys view, of course, and Barkley is at pains to make clear where he thinks they are going wrong.

Scientific studies in the last decade have shown, he says, that ADHD probably is not primarily a disorder of paying attention but one of self-regulation: how the self comes to manage itself within the larger realm of social behaviour. And, he alerts us, we may even have to reconsider the validity of the name because, to label it a disorder of attention trivialises the disorder and grossly understates the substantial and dramatic problems these children face in trying to meet the challenges of their daily lives abs the increasing demands of their families, school and society to regulate themselves as they mature. 

Barkley now believes that ADHD is a disturbance in the childs ability to inhibit immediate reactions to the moment so as to use self-control with regard to time and the future.

The 320 pages of the book are designed to give parents skills and insight, access to research data, to suggest and teach practical techniques, and to build confidence and courage so that parents can do their job in ways that will help  the child, the family and the community. 

Taking Charge of ADHD has a step-by-step plan for managing behaviour. It clarifies controversies about increased diagnosis and medication. It details advances in genetic and neurological research. And it has straightforward and extremely useful advice for parents on keeping peace and managing stress in the family. 

It is a very readable book, well laid out with a clear structure that is easily navigated. 

I particularly liked the fact that, in the introduction, Barkley has rewritten Dr. Stephen R. Coveys Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and applied them to raising a child with ADHD. They are, he says (and I agree, prime order principles that apply to any parents. 

Part 1 Understanding ADHD describes what it is, what causes it, what to expect as a result if it, and then puts it into the context of the family. 

Part 2 Taking Charge: How to Be a Successful Executive Parent explains how to ease the transition from self-help to professional help.

Why should a parent go for professional help, and what type to go for? Plenty of good tips well explained. 

Part 3 Managing Life with ADHD: How to Cope at Home and at School offers Eight Steps for Better Behaviour, which include learning to pay positive attention to your child, using your powerful attention to gain compliance, giving more  effective commands, and so much more.

Part 4 Medications for ADHD. This chapter is co written with George J. DuPaul, PhD, and Daniel Connor, MD talks about the various stimulants and other medications that are used to treat or alleviate the problem. It dispels eight myths about Ritalin its dangerous, is a symptomatic solution, is additive, stunts growth, doesnt have lasting academic benefits, can cause cancer, the child will never be able to serve in the military! It explains how the drugs work and possible side effects, and when the treatment should be stopped (there are no firm guidelines). 

It also outlines common unreasonable beliefs that parents or teens may cling to, e.g. Malicious intent: My teen misbehaves purposefully to hurt me.

Appreciation / love: My parents would let me do whatever I want if they really cared about me. 

It is a rich book, easy to understand without being talked down to, and meaty enough for the most demanding of professionals. The models and structures for solving problems with teenagers will also be useful for professionals, and the guidelines for talking to professionals will be of great benefit to parents who are often called into face the music and not infrequently blamed for the whole problem and Barkley makes no bones about the injustice of this! 

Although I have strong reservations about the open-ended use of stimulants and other medications, I also accept that they make a real and positive difference in the lives of many people who are suffering directly or by association with ADHD.

Taking Charge of ADHD gives such a comprehensive picture, explains so much so well, that most parents would, I imagine, have hope rekindle if theyve lost it, renew their strength and determination if they need to. I think it will help to find the inner resources required to deal with an outside world that has little understanding and less compassion for the enormity of the struggle that people living with ADHD go through day by day, perhaps for years.

Barkley does understand and he offers his many years of experience in an excellent book that I would recommend heartily to parents and to professionals alike.

Michael Mallows

 

 

When Teams Work Best  by Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson.   Published by Sage Publications,  2001,   H/B: 222 pages.         ISBN 0-7619-2366-7.     Price:  21.

I had expected to receive a copy of the recently published Teamwork by Carl Larson, but was told that publication had been temporarily suspended and was asked if I would kindly review this book instead - even though it is now three years old - which had been written by Carl Larson in collaboration with Frank LaFasto.  I made no promises, but agreed to read it before deciding.

I found it very facile in places, but this is not a criticism.  Facile and facility have the same root and it is a very easy book to read.  Most of the "recipes for success" in teamwork are not new, but the way in which they are described makes them very accessible to anyone who has not encountered them before.  For example: "The first distinguishing mark of effective problem-solving teams is focus." 

But I mustn't let my disappointment at the non-arrival of Carl Larson's latest book cloud my judgement about this work, which has stood the test of time.  In it, the authors interviewed 6000 team leaders and members to ascertain their techniques and formulae for successful team activity and, inevitably, amongst that volume of divulged experience, there is much good advice and guidance.  I am reminded of a book I read in my youth called How to Get Your Boss's Job.  It was subtitled, as far as I can recall, as the book for the ambitious man who wants to acquire power, to overcome office politics, and enjoy affluence.  It consisted of several hundred quotations from leaders in their field, from John D. Rockefeller to Bertrand Russell, all revealing their secret paths to success.  I read it assiduously, but never managed to oust a single boss.

When Teams Work Best, however, doesn't merely set out the prescriptions for success of 6000 individuals;  its clever merging of the practical management experience of LaFasto with the academic communication skills of Larson has ensured that readers will not simply learn how others have done it, but will be educated in the skills necessary to model their success.

And the glib and facile quotes and epigrams are well expanded and supported by tests and exercises, all suitably illustrated with practical examples.  Thus "establish a common goal for the team" is expanded by reference to the successful application of this maxim in a variety of fields, from business to sport.  "Invest more time to better understand others' perspectives" likewise is developed in a variety of  areas.

Indeed, the book covers a considerable field from What Makes a good Team Member? via Team Relationships, Team Problem Solving, Team Leadership, Team Organisation, to Putting It All to Work.  Little wonder that it continues to sell so well.

I can thoroughly recommend it as a "primer" on the subject.

But I still hope to get Larson's latest book on Teamwork!

Terry Goodwin

 

 

Autism and Creativity by Michael Fitzgerald.  Published by Brunner-Routledge.  294 pages.  Published 2004.  ISBN 1-58391-213-4.  Hardback price 29.99

  "Genius and madness is a topic with a lengthy history" 

A real advantage to editing a magazine such as Nurturing Potential is undoubtedly having first crack at a review when a book drops through the letterbox.  

As I leafed through the pages of this particular volume I knew how Cortez must have felt when he cocked an eye at the Pacific from that peak in Darien.  Every page had me in whodunnit-like thrall.  I had almost to restrain myself from turning to the last page to see how it ended.

Okay, so I exaggerate.  Slightly.  The fact remains that this is a fascinating account of the relationship between autism/Asperger's syndrome (HFA/ASP) and a number of men of exceptional ability, even genius.  Fitzgerald's selection of candidates for this study includes some remarkable historical figures.  "It is largely about male creativity," Fitzgerald explains, "as autism is undeniably a far more common disorder in males than in females."  It was some relief to learn that there is no sexist agenda involved in the choice.

So how do we explain the disability and the disturbed psychological characteristics going hand-in-hand with the creativity of such people as the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, the politician Sir Keith Joseph, the Irish revolutionary (destined to become the Free State's first Prime Minister and subsequently President) Eamon de Valera, the poet William Butler Yeats, the writer Lewis Carroll (the Reverend Charles Dodgson) and the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan?

But before embarking on his absorbing and highly personalised study of these exceptional individuals and the part that autism played in their lives, Fitzgerald treats his readers to a fascinating introduction, description and diagnosis of the psychology of autism itself, from the description of its pattern of symptoms published in 1943 by Leo Kanner, an Austrian who had emigrated to America, and the synchronicity of virtually simultaneous publication of his own findings by Hans Asperger, also, coincidentally, an Austrian.   Fitzgerald does, however, describe significant variations between HFA and ASP.

"Genius and madness is a topic with a lengthy history", Fitzgerald points out.  Similarly he states later "there in nothing new in the practice of writing about gifted people from a disease-state point of view.  Indeed the term 'pathography' was coined by the Leipzig neurologist Paul Moebuis when writing about gifted people such as Goethe and Schumann."

A brief section of the book that I found particularly compelling followed a table comparing high-functioning autism/Asperger's syndrome.  Here Fitzgerald builds a case for believing that many of the characteristics of Adolf Hitler's behaviour patterns were autistic.  He was not schizophrenic but met the criteria for autistic psychopathy described by Hans Asperger.  The case is nicely presented by the use of many of Hitler's traits that are so well known and documented.

Moving on to the six main subjects of the book, according to the author, the aim is to give the reader "a greater understanding of the genius's personality so that their work can be appreciated in a wider context."  It is this reviewer's contention that Fitzgerald has succeeded admirably.  

Almost 100 pages are devoted to the study of Wittgenstein , while only 80 pages cover the remaining five studies.  Is this because Wittgenstein was a more complex character than the others?  Or perhaps because Wittgenstein's study comes first and many of the descriptions and conclusions might otherwise have been duplicated.  I could not make up my mind, although I actually incline more to the former premise.

In any case the second part of the book, the six biographical/psychological studies are all fascinating and the most pleasing aspect for the reader - at least as far as this reader is concerned - is the clarity and simplicity of the language that makes every page comprehensible and accessible to the most unacademic of us.  (And yes, I am happy to include myself in that category.)  Michael Fitzgerald is the Henry Marsh Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin, and Clinical and Research Consultant to the Irish Society for Autism as well as being a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in England.  Would that more of our academics could emulate his ability to convey the enthusiasm and excitement of his subject in such a simple and compelling manner.

So, as I said earlier, I may have slightly exaggerated the drama of the book, its theme, and the way in which it has been so well crafted, and perhaps it is more a "howdunnit" than a "whodunnit", but the fact remains that I found it almost as hard to put down as the most devilishly inventive works of Stephen King or John Grisham.

Joe Sinclair

 

Behaviour Recovery by Bill Rogers.  Second Edition.  Published by Paul Chapman (Sage).  224 pages.  Published 2004.  ISBN 1-4129-0145-6.  Paperback price 18.99

Bill Rogers is known to many teachers as the man when it comes to behaviour management in schools. He has now published several books on the subject and is a frequent visitor to the UK where he leads seminars on managing children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. His trainings are entertaining, informative and very practical. I used to rave about them several years ago, and reading this book reminded me why.

This is a revised edition of an earlier book which reflects the inclusive approach of Government policy:  teachers are now required to teach children whose behaviour in the classroom in previous years would have led quickly to exclusion. The introduction states that there is, as a result, more emphasis on managing behaviour within the classroom setting. Rogers makes it explicit that his approach is about teaching children new ways of behaving, no matter what emotional baggage they bring with them and no matter what ways they are used to behaving. He believes that children with Emotional and Behavioural Disorders (EBD) should not be responded to any differently than children whose behaviours lie within the normal range. It is skills based rather than therapeutic.

This poses quite  a task for the teacher who has to teach the National Curriculum as well and it is refreshing that Rogers is at pains to recognise the additional demands placed upon them. As he says, those outside the classroom have little idea how draining these children are in terms of day to day management.

As one who has taught recently in some difficult schools as a supply teacher, this resonated strongly with me. I particularly warmed to the book when I read his account of the head teacher whose sole offering as support to a struggling teacher was the brilliant and profoundly helpful remark be firmer with him.

This is why, for me, Rogers leads the field in behaviour management because his humanitarian approach shines through. He rightly emphasises the importance of collegial support ; the antithesis of the but hes all right with me type of remark that so many young teachers are slapped down with.

The suggestion that teachers should recognise that many factors in a childs life are beyond the influence of the teacher is key whether it is poverty, genetics or being in a highly dysfunctional family. What the teacher CAN do is create expectations and structures that can support the child towards learning new ways of behaving. It is hard, hard work and the book is enlivened by case histories of successes.

The book details these, down to the level of how to talk to children, what to say and how to use body language to communicate in a constructive way. Learning these new responses is not easy but it pays dividends. Rogers has a whole battery of resources to support this charts, drawings and photographs, all of which can be used to feed back to the child the message that he can behave well. There is a very useful appendix of photo-copiable masters.

I found the chapter on Anger Management very helpful. As a child counsellor in training I would comment that these skills should be instilled in children at an early age.

 

Mark Edwards

 

Special Educational Needs - A Resource for Practitioners by Michael Farrell.   Published by Paul Chapman (Sage).  176 pages.  Published January 2004.  ISBN 0-7619-4238-6.  Paperback price 18.99

This is a comprehensive and thorough overview of the Special Educational Needs (SEN) landscape as it is in the UK today.  Michael Farrell begins by charting the historical development of SEN provision (he notes how cultural attitudes have changed over time -1902 A residential school for feeble-minded children opens at Sandlebridge, Cheshire!) up until the publication in 2001 of The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice.

The book is very clearly aimed at specialists in the field, and Farrell incorporates developments that are sometimes ignored emotional intelligence for example, in a chapter intriguingly titled Psychological and other approaches to Teaching and Learning. I was disappointed that this chapter was not longer, but that is only my personal preference. There is another chapter on the sociological perspective that I am sure others will find more in their line.

There is a nice touch in that each chapter concludes with thinking points. I could see that the book could make a sound basis for a training course on SEN, based around these.

The book is highly readable though I expect it is more likely to be used as a reference text, or,  as I suggested above, as a basis for training. However it is used, it is invaluable as an up to date assessment of SEN in 2004 and highly recommended to anyone working, or planning to work in this field.

Mark Edwards

 


 

Reviewers' Biodata

Elizabeth WinderWhile training as an integrative psychotherapist, Elizabeth helped to set up a user-led mental health day service and provided counselling within prison as a Probation Service volunteer.  She now runs an independent  service providing advocacy to psychiatric in-patients.  She is a survivor of the mental health services.  Email: magenta@ewinder.free-online.co.uk

Joe Sinclair is a writer, editor, publisher, and non-executive director of a shipping line - amongst other activities - one of which is the publishing of Nurturing Potential. His personal website will be found at http://www.pinoman.co.uk

Dr Paul Schenk, Psy.D is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, where his practice provides evaluation and therapy for families, couples, and individuals. Dr. Schenks special interests, the evaluation of ADD and learning problems in children, adolescents and adults. He is the author of Great Ways to Sabotage a Good Conversation and is on the editorial board of Nurturing Potential.

Michael Mallows is a management consultant, therapist (specialising in adoption), an author, a healer and a workshop facilitator.  He is a consulting editor of Nurturing Potential.

Terry Goodwin was a senior marketing executive at Finexport Ltd in London and Bangkok until his retirement in 1992, since when he has been in private practice as a marketing consultant.

Mark Edwards was a head teacher, who still teaches part-time but combines this with writing articles, educational consultancy and entertaining people who like to hear badly performed rock, pop and music hall classics.

Penelope Waite retired from full-time teaching some years ago.  She now divides her time between her homes in Brittany, France and south-west England.  She continues to be interested in developments in education, particularly in special needs, and does some EFL tutoring in France.

 

 

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