Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

An Updated Classic

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

An Updated Classic

Article excerpt

An Updated Classic ASSESSMENT OF CHILDHOOD DISORDERS (4th ed.) By E. J. Mash & R. A. Barkley 2007, Guillford Press

REVIEWED BY NANCY EVANGELISTA

The fourth edition of Assessment of Childhood Disorders is the latest contribution by editors Mash and Barkley in their series of foundational texts on childhood psychopathology, assessment, and treatment. This edition of their classic assessment text offers valuable new perspectives, as well as disorder-specific assessment tools and strategies, and will join the other classics in this series as an indispensible resource to graduate students and practitioners in school and clinical settings. The 16 disorder-specific chapters are written by leading researchers and are grouped into traditional categories of externalizing behavior, mood and anxiety disorders, developmental disorders, and the risk conditions, such as child abuse and neglect. Within this traditional framework, each chapter incorporates state-of-the-art research and best practices approaches to assessment. In addition, Mash and Barkley have broadened the range of childhood diagnoses to include disorders that have been the focus of more recent and intense research, such as pediatric bipolar disorder, early onset schizophrenia, suicide risk, and nonsuicidal self-harming behavior. The final two chapters are devoted to problems of adolescence, specifically eating disorders and assessment of personality disorders in youth. This comprehensive array of topics will be of great value to mental health professionals working in early childhood, primary and secondary school settings, or with families and youth in clinical and community treatment settings.

Although some readers maybe in the habit of skipping the introductory chapter andmoving directly to chapters of highest interest, Mash and Barkleys introduction offers an instructive overview of contemporary schemes for mental health assessment, which is well worth reading. Their assessment focus is framed through a "developmental systems approach," providing an integrative view of the child's patterns of behavior and emotional processing within the context of family systems and situational influences. Moving beyondassessment of the child's behavior in comparison to normative expectations, the developmental systems view emphasizes an understanding of the child's individualized patterns of behavior and emotional responses as attempts to function within the environment. This functional analysis of maladaptive behavior provides a fresh perspective for understanding the response functions of anxious, disorganized, or depressed symptoms, in addition to externalizing and pervasive developmental disorders, which are more commonly viewed through the functional behavioral assessment lens. …

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