by Carmel Doyle, Lecturer in Nursing, Trinity College Dublin.


This book is written by the mother of a child with a range of developmental delays diagnosed as autism. While many children learn and develop spontaneously, often children with special needs require a helping hand. With this in mind the author focuses on the importance of parents knowing the stages of child development within the areas of physical, social, emotional, cognitive, language and sensory development. Explanation of the theory behind each area of development is offered and suitable games for enhancing these areas are given. Factors to consider for everyday living, such as handy tips on sleeping routines, behaviours and toileting are provided.

Because this is the second edition of the book, the author has had the opportunity to rewrite the last two chapters which contain up-to-date information reflecting current practice and an incorporation of relevant new developments. These chapters also provide key resources for parents and carers, with contact details of relevant support services and organisations.

I liked the structured format of the books which appears to offer a really useful text for parents and carers. I like the simplicity of the suggested games and the ease of instructions for these games and activities. The book is written in a simple easy-to-read manner, with useful subheadings to guide the reader. It is a practical tool offering realistic hints and ideas to help the child with special needs.

While the book was written with the pre-school child in mind, it may be a good addition to other texts available on development of older children with special needs. In my opinion it is the type of text that parents and carers could dip in and out of, and therefore it is a good purchase. Pre-school staff and workers will also find themselves referring to it, so it could be a useful part of any organisation’s library.

SMALL STEPS FORWARD, by Sarah Newman (2008). London,
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, ISBN 978 1 84310 693 7. £13.99.