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Denis Stott.

Toronto, Methuen, c1982.
124pp, paper, $8.95.
ISBN 0-458-95200-1.

Reviewed by Glenn DiPaquale.

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

Dr. Denis Stott should need no introduction to educators and mental health professionals. He has produced a steady stream of quality books, research articles, and remedial education materials over the last thirty years and is recognized in North America and Britain as an authority on learning and behaviour problems.

This book, the second in the The Teacher Is the Key series edited by Ken Weber, is supposed to give the reader an understanding of the maladjusted child and provide suggestions for helping such a child. A maladjusted child is defined in the book as one whose behaviour is purposefully designed to work against his or her own best interests. Stott believes that most, if not all such behaviour is a reaction to deprivation of affection, in particular parental affection, and that this reaction can take three forms: withdrawal, hostility, or avoidance. Much of the book is devoted to brief case histories that illustrate these three forms of maladjustment and to describing management techniques for both parents and residential facilities.

In its terminology and approach this book is rather unusual and decidedly British. What is more, it is not really an appropriate book for teachers, except perhaps for those who teach in residential treatment facilities. The content and approach are much more suited and relevant to social workers and child care workers.

For all readers some caveats are in order. Much of the material in the book represents the author's opinions and might be somewhat different from the current "wisdom" in the field. Also, some readers might find it disturbing that over half of the references in the book date from the 1940s and 1950s. Many others are from the early 1970s, but some chapters rest entirely on these older references. Finally, it bothered me that most of the case histories are of the "happy ending" variety that could lead naive readers to conclude that maladjustment can often be ameliorated overnight simply by telling the parents to stop threatening to send the little darling to reform school.

In summary, readers will find this book to be interesting and quite readable, but its narrow focus and somewhat unusual terminology may limit its usefulness. Certainly, most teachers will find it of limited relevance in relation to an average Canadian classroom.

Glenn DiPasquale, York County Board of Education, Newmarket, ON.
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