A hit on the head and where it led – guest review

A hit on the head and where it led 

Nick in Emergency

Written by Jennifer Cooper-Trent, illustrated by Anthony Mitchell
Momentum multimedia, Balgowlah, 2004.


– a book review by Nick

“A hit on the head” is a non-fiction book about a six year old who rode his bike into a car and got a hit on his head and how he got over this struggle.

The boy was knocked out and was rushed in an ambulance to the emergency room at the hospital. A torch was shone in his eyes “as bright as the moon”. He woke up and said “my head hurts”. There were some scans and tests and an operation to clear blood from his head. His mum, dad and teddy bear were at the hospital and in a few days he felt much better.

At school it was hard, he couldn’t do work easily and words got jumbled. His mum said his brain just needed a rest. Kids at school called him “brain damaged” and other names, it was a struggle.

Four years later his writing was great and this encourages other kids with brain damage or a hit on the head to keep trying and be strong.

On the back of the book it says “wear your hat man”. I always wear my helmet.

From my perspective as a young rider, falling off your bike is bad if it’s on concrete but some falls can easily be avoided by slowing down and thinking ahead, especially at corners and busy roads. When I fell off my bike and went to hospital it hurt but it’s good to know your family is there with you.

At school respect everyone and their different learning, including if they have been “hit on the head”. It doesn’t matter whether you’re bullied or not respect everyone.

By Nick, 11 years

(photo in hospital Emergency, bike accident took place a few years ago)

A hit on the head and where it led (with link to YouTube video) is available for loan from the AWCH library.

Other AWCH resources for families of children with a Traumatic Brain Injury include :

Out of the shadows: understanding the experience of siblings following their brother or sister’s Acquired Brain Injury [DVD]

Looking ahead: Returning to school after an acquired brain injury [DVD]

Step by step: a guide for families of children and adolescents with a brain injury (E-resource)

EdMed: Ronald McDonald learning program education medical guidelines

Out there! recreational activities and resources for young people with acquired brain injury. A guide for parents

Head injury, the facts: a guide for families and care-givers by Dorothy Gronwall, Philip Wrightson and Peter Waddell,

Caring for children with special healthcare needs and their families a handbook for healthcare professionals Edited by Linda L. Eddy, Oxford Wiley- Blackwell, 2013.

Pediatric traumatic brain injury by Jeffrey H. Snow and Stephen R. Hooper

Traumatic brain injury rehabilitation: services, treatments and outcomes Edited by M. Anne Chamberlain et al.

Children with acquired brain injury : planning and support guide for schools, preschools and childcare services Department of Education, Training and Employment, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide

Children with acquired Brain Injury: educating and supporting families Edited by George H.S. Singer, Ann Glang and Janet M. Williams


Books on brain injury for children and teens – Lash & Associates publishing


Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
Email: Jillian@awch.com.au
AWCH Library


D is for Diabetes – resource

Australians can’t afford to ignore diabetes. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reports, in 2011-2012 there were about 1 million Australians with diabetes. In the report How common is diabetes, you will see statistics on the different types of diabetes and prevalence in states/territories around Australia and a table including prevalence of Type 1 diabetes in children.

Resources available from AWCH Child Health Library

Awareness about diabetes is raised this week through Walk to Work Day WTW, organized by Diabetes Australia. This fundraising event promotes a healthy lifestyle for Australians building walking into their daily routine.

Another recent walking event held was the Walk to Cure for type 1 diabetes, T1D, hosted by JDFR (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Australia). Find on JDFR website, information about type 1 diabetes, T1D is the fastest growing chronic disease amongst Australian children. Information for parents and carers includes JDRF’s role supporting families, meeting other kids with T1D, there’s a kid’s online community and  peer support program for parents.  Information resources for health professionals, school resources, JDFR research initiatives and more can be found on the website. JDFR was voted by Australian Charity Awards, Charity of the Year 2014.

Diabetes Australia is Australia’s leading Diabetes organization and is located around Australia. Diabetes NSW hosts a website for teens and kids with type 1 diabetes, from here find multilingual resources and resources for kids such as Professor Bumblebee’s guide to type 1 diabetes, D-Zone for teens and parents and teachers will also find useful links.

Many people will find helpful, basic information to increase understanding, such as the difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Here’s two information sheets with a child and family focus.

Find essential information about type 2 diabetes including what is, the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, risk factors for type 2 diabetes, how it develops, diagnosis and management. With clear and easy descriptions adults and young adults will find the medical and educational information is reliable, reviewed by the Health Care and Education Committee of Diabetes Australia. From this starting point there are links to State/Territory Diabetes Australia organizations websites.

This is a brief overview of information and includes the symptoms and causes of type 1 diabetes. Causes or triggers of diabetes are explained as well as lifelong management and the diabetes team. Type 1 diabetes is not related to lifestyle or caused by eating too many sweets. Some people carry the genes which make them more likely to get type 1 diabetes.

There are many other diabetes information sheets on medical and educational topics the category of information is listed with topics such as healthy eating, going to hospital/day surgery, taking control, medications, mental health etc. They are available for download or can be purchased in bulk.


Diabetes Australia has an extensive links page to authoritative sources such as Health direct from Australian government partners. Link through to myDr and Diabetes: tips for children or Diabetes: tips for teenagers.  On myDr, Type 2 diabetes,  find out how type 2 diabetes was often known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin diabetes, more  younger people are being affected and so terminology has changed.

Key organisations, such as Diabetes Australia point to this manual for parents, Caring for diabetes in children and adolescents, a parent’s manual, edited by Geoffrey Ambler and Fergus Cameron (3 MB). The AWCH Child Health Library holds a copy of the earlier edition, it is exciting to see the third edition is now online and so easily accessible (joint project of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the Royal Children’s Hospital). This comprehensive parent manual comes with illustrations and clear text covering a wide range of topics from medical to educational and social and emotional aspects of living with diabetes.

For a helpful overview of diabetes in adolescents including transition, visit Women and Children’s health network page, parenting and child health, SA.

Health professionals will refer to Clinical practice guidelines: Type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents, prepared by the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group for the Department of Health and Ageing, March 2005.


The AWCH Child Health Library has DVD’s and books on diabetes available for loan, such as

Jillian Rattray

AWCH librarian
November 2014

The Young Mind – review


Co-edited by Professor Sue Bailey and Dr Mike Schooter

Published by Transworld in collaboration with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK, 2009. ISBN: 9780593061381
(cover title: The Young mind: an essential guide to mental health for young adults, parents and teachers).

This helpful resource is worth dipping into and can be read either by chapter/s of relevance or as a whole to inform parents, teachers and young adults. The young mind is designed as a handbook to bring together information by leading British experts. Today, with so much information at hand including conflicting information, it is great to have so many specialists in child and adolescent psychiatry write about their particular area of expertise. In the introduction, the editors describe how the book helps to distinguish between layers of concern and what lies at the centre of a problem. Stages of child and adolescent development are linked with the information.

The book has six parts covering topics such as child and adolescent development; parenting and parenting skills in adolescence; school; emotional health and wellbeing. Serious problems young people experience today are explored such as abuse, neglect and domestic violence, worries and anxieties, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders, drugs, alcohol, eating problems, sleep, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, self-harm and psychosexual development. Final chapters look at treatments and therapies for children and adolescents in mental health as well as transition to adulthood.

Throughout the book find vignettes, these little stories provide insight and help illustrate themes in various chapters. The young mind is written in a British context and some chapters tie in with British services. The book provides a comprehensive overview with clear text and links to resources in each chapter including some Australian and New Zealand resources.

Other resources surrounding mental health issues can be found in the AWCH collection and are available for loan, they include DVDs such as Family focus: talking together about parental depression and anxietyWhat is… Tourette syndrome? and Play Now/Act Now: Young people and alcohol. Books are available on topics such as ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, depression, grief and bereavement, Children of parents with a mental illness (COPMI) as well as coping with chronic illness. Links to Australian and international online resources can also be found on the AWCH Library catalogue. To find out about borrowing The Young mind or other resources contact the AWCH office or AWCH library. Your feedback is most welcome.


Reviewed by Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
October, 2014


Jessica’s X-ray – review

By Pat Zonta, artwork by Clive Dobson
Firefly books, 2006. 27 p. ISBN 10: 1552975770


Jessica’s X-Ray is a great book for children and families to read and familiarise themselves with what an x-ray does and when it is used. Readers follow Jessica as she experiences an
x-ray for her broken arm and accompany her on a hospital tour to find out about radiology and other x-ray techniques including CAT-scan, MRI and ultrasound.
 X-rays are invisible waves of energy that travel at the speed of light
Primary school children will find the best feature of the book is the six real x-rays on printed film. Many children are fascinated by broken bones and the human body and they will like taking a look and finding out facts about different types of x-rays. By the end of the book they will have read about identifying bones, muscles and soft tissue from x-rays.
No-fuss information and warm colour illustrations are a feature. The author combines her experience of working in children’s and teaching hospitals as a Medical Radiation Technologist and author of several children’s books. This short book would be a useful addition to a primary school or public library.
Jessica’s X-Ray is available for loan from the AWCH library:
Review by:
Jillian Rattray


AWCH Librarian


The Together Stories Series – review

By Trish Dearn, illustrated by Lonica Lee
Children’s Cancer Centre Foundation, Richmond Victoria, 2013. ISBN 9780992334260 (paperback)

Infant school and primary school children who are living with childhood cancer will find “the Together stories” very engaging. The stories may help them to prepare for hospital, life experiences as well as think about ways of coping and building strength through difficult circumstances.

The books are written with made-up characters, from a child’s viewpoint. The familiar language used is what you might find in an Australian home, school or children’s hospital. Trish Dearn draws on her experience as a parent of Charlotte, who journeyed through leukaemia treatment to become a happy healthy girl.
Each book taps into different parts of a child’s cancer journey and feelings are expressed through the challenges. The books focus on adapting, coping and empowering through changes in a child’s health from diagnosis, hospital life and returning after treatment to home, school and community life.
Children will want to read each book cover to cover, finding easy-to-read font and colourful, expressive illustrations. The books are similar in formatting to what you might find in a school reader. They have a practical gloss cover for easy wiping.

The Together stories are simple to read and yet strong in communicating some of the social and emotional hurdles children with childhood cancer face.

The books may be borrowed from the AWCH library, to find out more about each book in the series visit the following links:


Review by: 
Jillian Rattray
AWCH Librarian
July 2014 

Maisy goes to hospital – review

By Lucy Cousins
Walker books, 2007. A Maisy first experiences book. ISBN 9781406313260

Maisy felt strange to be away from home and missed her friends

If you and your pre-schooler love Maisy this delightful book will not disappoint with the usual bright, cheery illustrations and thoughtful words, both by Lucy Cousins.
The book even has glittery lettering on the cover, pretty! 
It’s not hard to see why Maisy is such a popular mouse. Maisy goes to hospital has a gentle sense of humour typical of Maisy books. It is one in the series: A Maisy first experiences book, designed to introduce young children to unfamiliar experiences.
Pre-school children will enjoy the mostly happy expressions and comforting touches. Maisy has her favourite Panda bear with her, also wearing fancy pyjamas and smiling when Maisy feels so strange. Nurse Comfort is close at hand and friendship with Dotty helps make the experience so much more normal. Balloons and flowers and visiting friends help readers think about a warm, friendly hospital environment, Maisy is no longer  fearful.
Cousins helps children learn about hospital through the familiarity of Maisy.
Maisy goes to hospital along with other books preparing children for hospital, are available for loan from the AWCH Library. To find out more about Maisy’s experience in hospital visit the AWCH library at: http://library.awch.org.au/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=12355
Jillian Rattray
Association for the Wellbeing of Children in Healthcare (AWCH)

Talk less listen more: solutions for children’s difficult behaviour – review

By Michael Hawton

Jane Curry Publishing, Edgecliff, NSW, 2013
Talk less listen more is something you might have been told at school or perhaps you have heard something along those lines being said to children. This book is refreshing in its approach to solving children’s behaviour difficulties. In the heat of the moment, when the volume gets turned up readers will learn about why it is important to teach children to manage their emotions and strategies to help. By talking less and listening more Michael Hawton brings his experience as a psychologist and teacher of children and families for over 25 years to use. This book is aimed at families and can also be used by health professionals as they help people learn.
Amidst a myriad of parenting approaches, Hawton describes how parents of children today are confused. How should behaviour problems be dealt with? Trends have led parents towards talking through problems, praising with rewards and yet there are some limitations to “positive parenting”, from the “outside in”. Michael Hawton adds clarity and a set of tools to work with in helping children gain self- control, “inside out” parenting. He does not take readers back to days where children are to be seen but not heard. Parents and carers, by talking less when limiting unwanted behaviour and promoting desirable behaviours in a thoughtful manner, are going to be happier and enjoy their children more. Adults can follow a process learning about choice and how to react leading to better and easier parenting.
The book is divided into five parts. In part one: trends, principles and mistakes, find out about children’s development and behaviour, what it means for children to experience emotional overload and sorting behaviour to respond more flexibly. Part two focuses on change and looks at systems and patterns in families. Part three, managing difficult behaviour – quietly develops the title of the book. Find, a quick overview of the three choices for managing difficult behaviour – quietly, ignoring behaviour and managing yourself, signalling – a quiet way to stop children misbehaving and emotion coaching to teach self-regulation. Part four, promoting the behaviour you want looks at resolving poor attitudes and behaviour in older children, building bonds, teaching skills and encouraging competency. Part five extra resources including test your know-how, children and technology, resources and further reading.
Talk less, listen more is very readable for busy families. There are great ideas to help parents/carers direct their energy and establish good patterns of communication, rather than repeating the same reactions that don’t work. Michael Hawton draws on the “latest findings” in neuroscience. He writes both clearly and in an Australian context. Examples drawn from the “Blooms” family, show the parents as they sort through difficult child behaviours and family situations. Illustrations, diagrams and brief models break up the book and provide insight and a bit of fun. The before and after examples with the Blooms family help explore better approaches with greater understanding
Find out about “ABNs”, “RTA” and “PASTA” these abbreviations are used as memory prompts. “ABNs” refer to annoying but not serious behaviour. Families can use worksheets to develop a framework and think about behaviour which is important to focus on, the “big rocks”, as well as which behaviours can be ignored. Be encouraged because not all problems need to be resolved. Accompanying worksheets through the book are there to be photocopied and used. Each chapter concludes with “in essence”, a helpful overview.
Teaching children how to cope in an emergency, sort out their feelings and self-soothe is talked about in chapter 9. “Emotion-coaching” can “teach children a language they would not otherwise learn”. Eventually children learn how to use a “feeling language” to describe their emotions. The conversation between Charlie (dad) and Jessica (five-year-old daughter) about her scary nightmare involved talking about how she felt. Dad emotion-coached using reflective listening and made comments (rather than asking questions).
Michael Hawton doesn’t presume to write about all areas of parenting, instead he aims to look at a model for difficult behaviour, drawing on non-violent ways to help children be in control and deal with anxieties that arise in life. Children who are facing hospitalisation or repeated hospitalisation may experience fear about medical procedures, pain, separation anxiety and other intense feelings. Health professionals such as Hospital play therapists/Child life workers are there to help both children and families with their emotions. Parents who take on board reflective listening and children who are able to use a feeling language may find they have tools to help them through their hospital journey and improve their wellbeing. Final points made by the author pinpoint the objective of parents to model self-control and help children develop self-regulation for better overall health for families.
Talk less, listen more is worth reading cover to cover because the information builds and by dipping you miss out. As I read the final chapter on children and technology, I thought about my 12 year old’s experiences and those of her friends and their families and the role of parents as protectors. It may be a daunting task. Talk less, listen more can help parents to stay on track with how they want to react when facing difficulties. For instance, children may hop from one screen to another and if they can be encouraged by parents to self-regulate and manage their behaviour with limits, they will be happier and there will be greater harmony in family life. I’m really glad to have read this book, building knowledge both about children and better parenting. It is a great bounce-off point for thinking about children as they head into adolescence.
There is also an online parenting course The Talk Less Listen More (TLLM) e-course, which has been road-tested on 1000s of professionals and parents. To find out more about the author and access resources, visit his Blog or Facebook page: michealhawton.com
This book is available for loan from the AWCH library.
Jillian Rattray
AWCH Librarian
June 2014

The Australian Experience of Living with a Rare Disease: personal stories – review

Rare Voices Australia, 2014.
Rare Voices Australia has recently published, “The Australian Experience of Living with a Rare Disease: personal stories”.  This is a personal look at the daily lives of individuals and families who are generous enough to share their experiences.  It also captures the growing awareness of why we need to join together for better care.  A co-ordinated approach for access to services within Australia for people living with a rare disease is a key message.
The Stories
The individual stories in this book are simply written and provide real insight. Listening to the stories and recognising patient expertise, is described as the key to working in collaboration and reaching better health outcomes.  The patient stories help build greater understanding. Chapters begin with a brief description followed by stories.  Each story has a colourful portrait photo.  For example, in the Diagnosis chapter, Kerry tells, “it took 49 years to diagnose my rare disease”.  In Jessica’s story her mother Sharon describes how “our journey to diagnosis wasn’t easy.  We waited several months to receive genetic test results from the USA”.
The reader will benefit from the easy-to-read stories, health professionals can be challenged by patient experiences; government bodies can see the value of a co-ordinated approach to the daily lives of Australian families living with rare disease.  “The Australian Experience of Living with a Rare Disease: personal stories” is a wonderful resource. Many of the individuals and families in the book have also taken up the role of advocate, working with others through support networks. Find links to support resources throughout the book.
Visit the Rare Voices Australia website to view “The Australian Experience of Living with a Rare Disease: personal stories”. The book is downloadable in PDF ( http://www.rarevoices.org.au/).  
A hardcopy is also available for loan from the AWCH library.
Jillian Rattray
AWCH Librarian
February, 2014

No Matter What – review

No Matter What
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, Massachusetts, ISBN 9780152063436
By Debi Gliori
This board book will delight you and your preschooler. With beautiful, cosy illustrations and enchanting rhyme and rhythm, “Small” asks whether “Large” will love him “no matter what”? Through repeated questions, Small explores more about love. Humorous illustrations in vivid colour compliment the story “But if I turned into a squishy bug, would you still love me and give me a hug?” “Of course,” said Large, “Bug or not, I’d always love you, no matter what”.
There is warmth and comfort as Small challenges Large to find out whether love can be broken and mended or whether it will disappear when far way. The story is simple and intimate, Small’s questions are answered and Large gives reassurance and hugs.  Young children who are facing separation from their parent or carer may read this book and be encouraged through difficult circumstances. The book will be a great bedtime read for families who want to bring a warm glow to their children.

This book may be borrowed from the AWCH library, Call number 155.937 GLI 1

Reviewed by Jillian Rattray
AWCH Librarian
December 2013

Extreme parenting: parenting your child with a chronic illness

By Sharon Dempsey
London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008. ISBN 9781843106197.

Written in a thoughtful and calm manner, Extreme parenting is a book that will support parents and families of children living with chronic illness. The book aims to identify areas of common concern to families and to develop an approach that will encourage children to develop and lead a full life. Parents who read Extreme parenting will gain insight into the author Sharon Dempsey’s experience of parenting her young son Owen through hospitalisations, returning to school, family life, medical necessities and home care. Quotes from other parents who have children with chronic illnesses also add depth and a personal dimension. Although written in a British context, the experiences are also relevant to Australian families. Communication strategies and advocacy are common themes throughout the book.

Extended families and close friends will find this book helpful in developing an understanding of what supportive care means. People genuinely wanting to help can gain insight into areas where they may be able to assist, depending on the needs of the family. It was thought provoking to read about how helping the siblings and parents in daily life will also benefit the child who has a chronic illness.

The section on schooling is important. It draws attention to the role school plays in academic learning as well as social interaction and friendships. Children need understanding and to feel like they are included. A child who is chronically ill and has repeated hospitalisations may experience fear and anxiety on return to school. Teachers and students who are prepared and understand about the child’s illness are in a better position to make returning to school a more positive experience for everyone. Dempsey gives examples as to why teachers may be reluctant to have a child with a chronic illness in their class. She also draws on her family’s experience to provide examples of how Owen’s teachers and friends enabled Owen to feel part of his school life even when away from school. Parents can advocate for their child and foster understanding within the school by providing information and updates.

Medical professionals who read Extreme parenting will be able to think about the child within the context of their family as well as the role parents play in doing the best for their child within the healthcare environment and at home. The aim is to help parents do the best job they can so that the child is given the best possible care. Some of the psychological issues facing families and the role of the child in participation in treatment decisions is considered. Adolescents, in particular, will benefit from taking part in decisions about treatment and care plans. Special considerations regarding privacy, peers etc. are also relevant to adolescent development and hospital care.

For families who have a child with a terminal illness, there is a section on hospice or palliative care. This chapter is written in a compassionate and supportive manner.

Find at the end of each chapter Action points that will review the main themes and direct readers into action. These pointers are helpful reminders and make organising easier. Contact organisations, reference and bibliography lists at the back, not only show the book is well researched but guide readers to other interesting resources.

Extreme parenting is a book written to benefit families with a child with a chronic illness. As growing numbers of families find themselves meeting challenges addressed in this book, our communities will gain much needed awareness by reading this book and others like it.

Reviewed by Jillian Rattray
AWCH Librarian
November, 2013