Assessing Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

Treating Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

Johnny L. Matson

Frank Andrasik Springer

Michael L. Matson


Assessing Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities and Treating Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities are companion texts edited by LSU Professor and Distinguished Research Master, Dr. Johnny Matson. His co-editors are Dr. Frank Andrasik who is now Chair at the Department of Psychology at U. of Memphis, and son Michael Matson, previously at LSU and now finishing his MSW from Tulane.

In these companion volumes, LSU’s world-class scientist and author continues his dazzling contribution to the areas of child and adolescent psychology by combining knowledge of experts from all over the US, from the UK, Israel, Africa and as far away as New Zealand.

An expert in mental retardation, autism, and severe emotional disorders in children and adolescents, Johnny Matson has produced 600+ publications including 37 books. He is Editor-in-Chief for Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders (Oxford England), Editor-in-Chief for Research in Developmental Disabilities (Oxford, England), and Associate Editor for Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities (London). Through the years he has served on 80 editorial boards including as Editor-in-Chief for Applied Research in Mental Retardation and the Official Journal of the American Association for University Affiliated Programs. Among his many contributions, Johnny Matson has been a visiting professor to universities in Sweden, Canada and India, consultant to the Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, and Missouri Departments of Mental Health, and consultant to ABC’s 20/20 and CBS’s Eye to Eye.

Published by Springer, Assessing and Treating are companion texts that meet the needs of today’s pediatric psychologist by ensuring that his or her work is consistent with and supported by scientific findings. The books provide evidence-based concepts and methods for those diagnosing and treating children, supported conclusions with the latest data and newest trends. Authors include an array of important related topics and concerns regarding the rapidly changing and expanding field of clinical child, developmental, and school psychology.

“The rapid expansion of literature related to the assessment and treatment of child psychopathology…” is one of the main reasons for the books, Johnny Matson told the Times. “These comprehensive volumes,” he noted, “summarize the scores of published literature on evidence-based methods.”

Readers will find a comprehensive review of current scientific findings, predigested and arranged for ease of understanding by the authors. Throughout the two volumes, chapters begin with a clear statement about the importance of the topic, flowing smoothly to key issues, subtopics, and a wealth of research findings. The authors have worked to summarize the problems for the reader, giving meaningful conclusions supported by current evidence. Controversies are clearly described and conclusions explained, and where needed the reader is referred to additional resources.

Johnny explained to the Times that the texts are “important to ensure that clinicians are using the most effective mehods when working with toddlers, children and adolescents,” providing needed guidance in a field that is changing as quickly as any other.

Psychologists who want to support their decisions scientifically, ethically and legally will find the information enormously valuable.

The writing is smooth and easy to absorb, with surprising consistency throughout considering the depth and breath of the contributors. The ‘get to the point’ presentation makes the narrative interesting and comfortable to use as a reference. The reader can move quickly between important topics to review information captured from the dozens of specialized journals that have emerged in this constantly expanding field.

This efficiency may have been another goal. “Writing is rewarding in the sense that it assists in allowing for the review of empirically supported evidence and the concise delivery of this information to professionals in the field,” Johnny explained. He has accomplished this with these two excellent volumes.

Assessing Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

Assessing is divided into five sections. “History, Overview and Trends in Child and Adolescent Psychological Assessment,” opens the introduction. A powerful first chapter gives an overview of state-ofthe art assessment of children and a review and integration of how ethical and legal/forensic issues intertwine in today’s world. Chapter 2 covers “Diagnostic Classification Systems” with a critique of the medical model and list of disadvantages of the DSM-IV. The chapter provides a theoretical perspective that is applicable for all areas of clinical psychology. Completing the introductory section is a review of structured and unstructured interviewing methods and also practical points regarding report writing.

Part II, “Assessment of Specific Problems,” begins with a chapter on intelligence testing, followed by a chapter on rating scale systems for assessing psychopathology with detailed reviews of the ASEBA and the BASC-2.

LSU’s Dr. Drew Gouvier, Audrey Baumeister, and Kola Ijaola author the chapter on “Neuropsychological Disorders of Children.” Drew is professor in the clinical area at LSU with research interests in neuropsychological assessment, treatment, and forensic issues. He and his coauthors cover an array of issues regarding speech, language, ADHD, LD, ASD and acquired neuropsychological disorders.

Part III covers the assessment of specific psychopathologies including chapters on assessment of conduct problems, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, mood disorders, and bipolar disorders.

Part IV includes three chapters covering the assessment of developmental disabilities beginning with a chapter on “Academic Assessment” by LSU psychology professor Dr. George Noell and Dr. Kristin Ganle of LSU’s Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice. George is professor in the school psychology program at LSU, previously director, and currently on loan to the Louisiana Department of Education where he is developing a teacher evaluation initiative for the state. Kristin Gansle is associate professor at LSU’s Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice. Her research includes curriculum-based measurement for assessing written language skills.

Part IV also includes a chapter on “Autism Spectrum Disorders and Comorbid Psychopathology” authored by Jessica Boisjoli and Johnny Matson of LSU. Covering core features of the condition, rating scales, interviews are reviewed, along with measures for differential diagnosis, and a section on comorbid conditions.

The final section of Assessment describes the behavioral medicine topics of childhood and adolescent eating disorders, the assessment of pain, and pediatric feeding disorders.

Treating Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

The companion volume closely tracts the first in structure, style and content. Part I begins with a review of “History of Treatment in Children with Developmental Disabilities and Psychopathology” by LSU’s Jonathan Wilkins and Johnny Matson, which takes the reader through advancements in behavioral and pharmacological treatments, and the empirical support.

The introductory chapters include “Applied Behavior Analysis and the Treatment of Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities,” “Cognitive Behavior Therapy,” and “Parent-training Interventions.”

Part II, “Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities,” begins with a chapter on conduct disorders, followed by a chapter on the treatment of ADHD.

Chapter 7, “PTSD, Anxiety, and Phobia,” is authored by Dr. Thompson E. Davis III from LSU Thompson, an assistant professor, focuses much of his research on anxiety orders in children and adolescents and is the director of the Psychological Services for Youth Clinic at LSU. The section continues with “Treatment Strategies for Depression in Youth,” and chapters on treating bipolar disorders with medication, the treatment of autism spectrum disorders, and the treatment of self-injurious behavior. Completing Part II is “Communication, Language, and Literacy Learning in Children with Developmental Disabilities.”

“Behavioral Medicine,” Part III, includes chapters on eating disorders and on the treatment of pediatric feeding disorders, completes the text.

The Times asked Johnny how it was to consult with this group of experts. “Working with contributors is great,” he said, “in the sense that it provides additional information in regard to their research.” But he added, “The hardest part of working with contributors is to ensure that you are meeting designated deadlines, especially when many contributors are involved.”

What are the challenges? “Obviously, one of the biggest problems with writing such comprehensive books,” Johnny noted, “is the new empirical support prior to the publishing of the book. However,” he said, “this holds true for all books.”

One other aspect that Dr. Johnny Matson has enjoyed in his writing is helping the field find it’s direction, saying to Times, “… writing reviews of published work assists in determining directions for future research.”

These excellent works are available at Springer ( and at online booksellers everywhere.

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