Book release: New views on neurodevelopmental disorders and LD
14 November 2011
A new book for medical students reveals what it is like to work with patients who live with neurodevelopmental disorders.
A new book for medical students reveals what it is like to work with patients who live with neurodevelopmental disorders and offers reflections on specialising in the field.
‘Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry: An Introduction for Medical Students’ is a compilation of personal insights, designed to inspire medical professionals to pay more consideration to the needs of this vulnerable and often excluded group. It offers a unique inside line on the subject as each chapter is considered through the eyes of a different person, featuring consultant psychiatrists, a GP and even patients themselves.
Neurodevelopmental disorders cover a group of conditions that include generalised learning disabilities, autism spectrum condition and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). All medical professionals should expect to treat patients with these conditions at some point in their careers and so the book gives guidance on how consultations can be approached with better understanding and confidence.
Individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders also experience co-morbidity issues that include higher rates of mental and physical illnesses, impulsivity, risk-taking and behaviours that can be considered anti-social, mood instability, anger issues and increased levels of substance misuse. They face stigma, high rates of abuse, a shorter life expectancy, worse health outcomes, and often significant challenges in accessing healthcare.
‘Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry…’ was co-edited by Dr Simon Bonell, who recently completed his higher training in the psychiatry of learning disabilities at the Trust. “We hope the book will introduce medical students to some of the key issues around learning disability,” he says, “but we’re also optimistic that it will encourage more people to consider the field as a specialism. Working more effectively with learning disability is simple. On the one hand, it’s about listening to people and giving them the respect they deserve. But, it is also a complex field, because every person presents a unique combination of challenges. Learning disability becomes a humanistic challenge and an intellectual one.”
The book was also edited by Dr Tim McInerny and Dr Jean O’Hara. Dr Tim McInerny is a consultant forensic psychiatrist with the Behavioural and Developmental Psychiatry Clinical Academic Group (CAG), portfolio lead for undergraduate and postgraduate medical education within the CAG, and a strong advocate for using art and creative therapies as a part of patient recovery processes. Dr Jean O’Hara is a consultant in the psychiatry of learning disabilities, and Clinical Director of the Behavioural and Developmental Psychiatry Clinical Academic Group.
“Neurodevelopmental psychiatry is an amazing educational opportunity for students,” says Dr O’Hara. “It’s such a small field at the moment, and there aren’t that many well co-ordinated services, but there’s growing evidence that these skills will be required more and more in the future. Services are particularly fragmented for adults, and this book reflects the new neurodevelopmental disorders pathway we have recently launched at the Trust – an integrated inpatient, outpatient and community clinical pathway that explores how to manage the impact of these conditions on the lives of adults.”
By incorporating contributions from different viewpoints, including patients themselves, the book expresses something of the challenges that exist in the field of neurodevelopmental disorders. It also makes the point that medical professionals need to work together to make sure people receive the appropriate standards of care.
General practitioner Dr Louise Michell writes one chapter on the challenges for primary care practitioners working in inner-city surgeries. ‘In a practice with a list of 20,000 patients, like ours,’ she says, ‘there are likely to be around 200 patients with a learning disability. Understanding the challenges and knowing when and how to get help are vitally important. Patients with neurodevlopmental disorders will have health needs like any other, but may be far more difficult to engage, consult with, or examine. It is very important to use the skills learnt as a student to communicate effectively with these patients in order to ensure they are not compromised due to their disabilities’.
The book includes personal reflections from higher trainees and professionals who have dedicated their careers to helping people with neurodevelopmental disorders. There are also recommendations for further reading and information sources.
Full list of contents:
- What should medical students know about the psychiatry of learning disability?
- GPs, community learning disability teams and the psychiatrist: how do they work together?
- Principles of assessing the mental health of people with learning disabilities
- Learning disability, autism and mental illness
- What makes a good doctor? Views of people with learning disability
- Child and adolescent mental health services for children and adolescents with learning disabilities
- Understanding the impact of ADHD in adulthood
- Understanding the complex interaction between physical health, mental health and behavioural disturbances
- Genetics and learning disability
- Forensic issues in the psychiatry of learning disability
- Life as a higher trainee in the psychiatry of learning disabilities
- Working as a consultant in the psychiatry of learning disabilities: challenges and opportunities
- Neurodevelopmental disorders in literature and film
Click here to download a PDF version of ‘Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry: An Introduction for Medical Students’.
If you would like a hard copy of this book, please email marketing at slam.nhs.uk to request your free copy.