By DePompei, R. & Blosser, J. (3rd ed.). San Diego: Plural Publishing, 2019.
This is the third edition of this excellent textbook. The title truly defines the content of this book and its remarkable compilation of proactive interventions written by two international experts on children and youth with traumatic brain injuries. This well-organized book will carefully guide professionals from a variety of disciplines (education, speech/language, psychology, rehabilitation therapies) and treatment settings (hospitals, clinics, schools, home) regarding new research in best practices via a practical and functional treatment model. DePompei and Blosser have organized their book into four major sections with ten chapters in all. Each section and the accompanying chapters set forth the scope of the problem, assessing cognitive-communicative strengths/needs, treatment strategies, and application of these strategies. The authors’ tribute to the families with whom they worked sets the tone for the text and underscores the family-centered approach that guides assessment and intervention aspects of the book.
Part I provides an overview of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the pediatric population and describes the characteristic behaviors that might be expected after brain injury. Information about incidence, cognitive communicative characteristics, and impact on the youngster’s life and experiences is provided. Recovery from concussion (mTBI), including return to play and school, is also covered. The authors present a proactive philosophy of assessment and treatment, emphasizing the importance of interprofessional collaboration and family involvement. The initial section also discusses quality of life and transition issues to be considered when planning and implementing functional service delivery options.
Part II describes how to apply problem solving techniques to conduct functional assessments using a unique decision-making tree. Importantly, the authors also discuss how to assess the home and school environment and significant communication partners, providing practical tools for conducting these assessments.
Part III suggests functional treatment approaches based on DePompei and Blosser’s proactive problem-solving approach and describes functionally-based outcomes for home, school and community. Ways to directly involve family and friends in the treatment process are covered. Specific information for school involvement and support are discussed. The authors advocate for students to be placed in the least restrictive environment and provide information about how students can fit into existing educational frameworks such as the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support.
Part IV provides a case example of proactive responses to challenges a child and parents may experience. The detailed and thoughtful case example of “Alan” offers readers a clinical model from which to approach the majority of school-age children with TBI. A school reintegration planning guide is included that highlights the key points made within the text.
This textbook concludes with three excellent appendices that provide professionals with an array of tables and checklists to further support cognitive-communicative areas, general and social behaviors, and expressive, receptive and written language. In addition, an excellent reference list is included to help professionals locate other resources.
Throughout the sections, this textbook promotes “proactive planning” as a way to preempt many of the cognitive, communication, and behavioral difficulties young people with TBI experience. The authors’ treatment model teaches readers how to better measure, monitor and manage so-called “deficits” before the child goes into crisis. In addition, the emphasis on collaboration among professionals, family members, and the child him/herself is supported with many examples. This approach is especially apparent in the final section which goes beyond the application of various skills and strategies to an individual child to equip readers with a template for employing the proactive approach as part of a purposeful treatment model. The many checklists provided in this chapter guide professionals regarding what information is critical to collect and share with the team, as well as how to manage periodic reviews and transitions.
Of special note are the contributions regarding gist, discourse analysis and strategic learning provided by Dr. Sandi Chapman and Dr. Lori Cook. Their discussions of these topics enhance specific language and cognitive communication issues that are discussed throughout the text.
In sum, this book is highly recommended for brain injury professionals, both for its treatment philosophy and its many practical and proactive strategies. The authors have successfully made each edition better than the previous one. Professionals will find this textbook to be a wonderful resource that one “keeps on the desk” because you will find yourself continually using the many strategies, tables, forms, and checklists provided throughout.
About the Reviewer
Ron Savage, EdD, worked with youth with neuro-developmental disabilities for over 45 years. He is Clinical and Strategic Advisor for NeuroInternational Brain Injury Programs and Chairman of the Professional Advisory Board for Pink Concussions. Dr. Savage was the Founding Chair of International Paediatric Brain Injury Society (IPBIS) and is a member of IPBIS Board of Directors, President of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation and the International Academy of Hope (IHope), Chairman of the North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS), Editor of Brain Injury Professional, and served on the Board of Governors for the International Brain Injury Association (IBIA). Dr. Savage has started, directed and consulted with numerous specialized brain injury programs (inpatient and postacute) for children and young adults throughout the United States, including programs at Bancroft NeuroHealth in New Jersey, The May Institute in Massachusetts and Rehabilitation Services of New York.