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Caring for Children with Special Needs

Sujata Lakhani Mirchandani

By S. Venkatesan
Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2004, pp. 251, price not stated.

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 10 October 2005

The need of the hour was for a practical training guide for children with development disabilities. Dr. Venkatesan has made a brilliant attempt to overcome the lacunae between diagnoses and training for children up to the age of six. Crucial topics which are rarely addressed adequately, but are vital to children with special needs, have been covered. The author has explained the technical terms in a simple manner, which is easy to comprehend. The case vignettes make the technical terms explicit. They also make the reader sensitive to the needs of the developmentally challenged children. He has also presented the reader with details of over four hundred non-formal activities along with specific guidelines on how to use them at home and in pre-school settings.   The book has 6 chapters which are spread over three sections. 1. Introduction On Developmental Disabilities 2. Development And Standardization Of ACPC –DD 3. Assistance Guide For Training On ACPC –DD   The first section comprises 3 chapters. In the Introduction, the author has lucidly brought out the differences between the frequently used terminologies: impairment, handicap, disabilities and disorders. Most people are unaware of the subtle differences between these terms and hence they are often interchangeably and ambiguously used. In addition to a brief overview on the manifestations, prevalence and characteristics of six common handicaps: physical, visual, hearing, mental, learning and multiple handicaps, he has also discussed eight psychological disorders. These disorders like pervasive developmental disorders, elimination disorders, emotional disorders, eating disorders etc. often present in children either as a primary disorder or as an associated feature of a primary disorder, are usually omitted by most authors. However, these have been dealt with and elaborated upon suitably by Venkatesan. At the end of the first chapter I am sure the concepts will be clearly entrenched in the reader’s mind and improve the quality of care given to these children.   The chapter on ‘Home-Based Skill Training Programmes’ focuses sensitively on issues like perils of diagnostic labelling, parent-professional collaboration, myths and attitudinal blocks. Guidelines have been given for planning and implementing a skill training programme at home. Rooted in the behaviouristic paradigm it orients the trainer on the development and implementation of a skill based programme. A synopsis of various behaviour modification techniques along with sample illustration has been presented effectively. I feel this facilitates comprehension and on-site-application. I am very impressed with the sub-section Additional Guidelines For Training which addresses issues on ...

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