Subject: Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Neurodisability

Series: Mac Keith Press Practical Guides

Publication date: 17/03/2016

ISBN: 9781909962569

Edition: 1st

Pages: 384

Developmental Assessment

Theory, Practice and Application to Neurodisability

Patricia Sonksen (Author)

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Practical Guide

This handbook presents a new, practical and logical way of assessing development in preschool children that can be applied across the developmental spectrum.

The reader is taught how to confirm whether development is typical and if it is not, is signposted to the likely nature and severity of impairments with a plan of action.

The author uses numerous case vignettes from her 40 years’ experience to bring to life her approach with clear summary key points and helpful illustrations.

  • Clarifies ‘what is being tested’ and the rationale behind traditional tests
  • Includes tables showing the ages at which 50% and 90% of children achieve a specific domain
  • Describes permissible assessment adaptations for children with impairments

Full Book Review

Read the full book review by Karen Horridge published in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology.


Paediatricians, paediatric neurologists, developmental psychologists, health visitors, specialist nurses, speech-, occupational- and physiotherapists, ophthalmologists, orthoptists, audiologists and audiometricians.

Patricia M Sonksen

Patricia Sonksen is Consultant Paediatrician (Emeritus) at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and Honorary Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Child Health (ICH), London, UK.

During her 40-year career in paediatric neurology Dr Sonksen’s main interest has been in severe visual impairment and for 23 years she directed the Vision Research and Clinical Service Team at the ICH. She has lectured and published widely in the field of neurodevelopment and neurodisability and was principle lecturer and demonstrator for the Developmental Examination Course at the ICH.

1. Thinking Developmentally
2. Practicalities
3. Vision
4. Hearing
5. Social Cognition
6. Non-Symbolic Cognition
7. Non-Spoken Symbolic Development and Imaginative Play
8. Spoken Symbols and Spoken Language
9. Gross motor development
10. Manipulation
11. Speech Production
12. Comprehensive Whole
13. Assessment of developmental disorders, etc.
14. Developmental Guidance

'It is clear from reading the book as a whole that Dr Sonksen has such great expertise in the area of developmental assessment that she can dip in and out of a whole range of assessment tools tailored to the individual child. Those who read the book will be inspired to put into practice the exacting art and science of developmental assessment, so that they too may be better able to precisely describe the development of a range of children.'

Karen Horridge, Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 2016

‘This is a highly readable book which offers sound advice on assessing young children with multiple impairments. The emphasis on the interdependency of domains is critical to understanding how children develop and how we can document their development. …Chapter 1 gives a fabulous introduction into the deep understanding of a child's development one may achieve by thinking about the diagnostic clues present in the profiles of a given assessment. Examples of action plans for children are given. Methods of adjustment for test protocol for children with disabilities are suggested….Chapter 2 covers important practicalities often assumed by experienced clinicians. Guidelines for ambience and communication with parents and children are clear and reflect many years of thought about what makes an experience successful. Expectations for history taking and timing of assessment are sensible. …The initial emphasis on the integration of domains is not lost while the details are explored. As an evaluator of children with multiple, sometimes subtle impairments, I appreciate Dr. Sonken's ability to elucidate her methods so completely. She obviously has listened, watched and interacted successfully with young children and parents and intends that we should all do the same.’

American Association of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine Newsletter, 2016

'I found reading this volume very informative. I fully agree with Dr. Jane Williams, who provided the Foreword, that this volume reflects her passion about the subject of developmental assessments for children with developmental und visual disability and her ability to transfer knowledge in a most skillful and didactic way. This book is indeed a comprehensive guide to carry out a developmental assessment in a standardized fashion. Patricia Sonksen is helping us to see more clearly how to do this. Therefore, I can highly recommend this book for professionals working in this field.'

Christoph Kuenzle, Neuropediatrics, 2016

'This latest look at developmental assessment encourages us to become less reliant on manuals and standardised forms, and instead to develop a sound knowledge of child development and use this to guide a structured interaction with the child in order to gain the required information... In this book, she (Patricia Sonksen) shares many of the personal tips and practice points she has gathered over many years of experience, so even the more experienced clinician should pick up something to improve their practice... The global nature of the content would suggest it would be most useful to paediatricians, but coverage of all the domains in detail means this book is appropriate for anyone of any discipline involved in the assessment of pre-school children.'

Christina Calderon, Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists Journal, December 2016