Child Decoded is an essential tool for anyone seeking to build a well-informed and open-minded support system for a child who needs one.
Though it can be daunting for parents and caregivers to navigate a sea of conflicting information when it comes to what’s best for their child, Robin E. McEvoy, Kim Gangwish, and Marijke Jones offer a thorough, and thoroughly readable, guide to sailing those seas with Child Decoded: Unlocking Complex Issues in Your Child’s Learning, Behavior or Attention.
Organized by both diagnoses and treatment methods, Child Decoded is an in-depth, step-by-step guide on how to advocate for a struggling child, from identifying telltale signs of a problem to finding the right specialist and therapeutic approach to controlling often-overlooked variables (such as nutrition) that may impact a child on a chemical, neurological level. The chapters, each opening with a case study and authored by an expert on the subject, are informative enough to stand alone as discrete resources so that caregivers can tailor their reading experience to the needs of a certain child.
This format is excellently organized and highly accessible, with both clinical and anecdotal evidence corroborating the book’s overarching message of optimism and hope. The editors emphasize looking at the “whole child,” from the ground up, and in doing so they shed light on some of the complicated relationships between mind and body, behavior and brain. Peppered with sidebars and section headings, along with the occasional diagram, the textbook-like design makes visually appealing what might otherwise be overwhelming, even dense.
The three editors each bring important perspectives to the work. McEvoy is a developmental neuropsychologist who works with learning challenges in children, Gangwish specializes in neural integration and LEAP (the Learning Enhancement Acupressure Program), and Jones is a former therapist and parent of a twice-exceptional child (that is, one who has substantial cognitive gifts and deficits). Thanks to these respective areas of expertise, Child Decoded provides myriad perspectives on how to identify and cope with academic, learning, and behavioral challenges.
Though the editors acknowledge treatments ranging from holistic medicine to equine-assisted therapy, they seem to especially emphasize a biomedical approach—that is, a focus on physical rather than psychosocial factors—which yields surprising and concrete insights on the connections between bodily symptoms (think eczema and food sensitivities) and their behavioral manifestations. Drawing on research and their own professional experiences, the editors build a convincing case for prioritizing biomedical well-being: after all, if the child’s system is not supported at a basic, physiological level, how can we expect the child to thrive in higher-order areas like attention and emotional control?
Though the underlying neurobiology to this argument can be difficult to understand (even for researchers), Child Decoded presents a clear, concise overview of key processes. This is not the book to turn to for an exhaustive report of how the brain plays a role in behavioral problems, but by rolling out the denser information on a strictly need-to-know basis, the authors effectively contextualize the origins of behavioral symptoms without compromising pacing, readability, or the integrity of the underlying science.
Running a wide gamut of both common and lesser-known conditions and treatment methods, Child Decoded is an essential tool for anyone seeking to build a well-informed and open-minded support system for a child who needs one.
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