Monday, August 26, 2013

Dr. Pearnel Bell’s Book Launch

Teachers, family, friends and well-wishers gathered in Room 21, UWI, Western Campus on Friday, August 23, 2013 for the launch of Dr.Pearnel Bell’s book, “A Teacher’s Guide to Understanding the Disruptive Behaviour Disorders – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), and Conduct Disorder”. The publication of this book is a testament to Dr. Bell’s determination and dedication. She made time to write in spite of her busy schedule of work as a Clinical Psychologist, Regional Consultant with the Ministry of Health, University Lecturer and Researcher. It is described by Dr. Daniel Eckstein as timely. I wish I’d had the information in this book years ago, and therefore describe it as long overdue. However, the book could not have been written sooner, as it contains up-to-date information, much of the research into these disorders having been carried out in the 21st century.
Joy Crooks

Chairperson for the launch, Joy Crooks, Nurse Administrator of CUMI (Committee for the Upliftment of the Mentally Ill), extended a warm welcome to us and introduced Dr. Luz Longsworth, Director of the University of the West Indies Western Campus, who brought greetings. Dr. Claudette Crawford-Brown, Lecturer in Sociology, Psychology and Social Work in the Faculty of Social Sciences at UWI, and Director of the Child and Adolescent Academy of Jamaica also brought greetings. The need for training and networking of all practitioners in the field of mental health is being addressed by this academy, and Dr. Bell’s book contains important reference material to be used by the academy. Dr. Crawford-Brown taught Dr. Bell, whom she named among the top ten students she has ever taught. Dr. Crawford-Brown is the author of “Children in the Line of Fire”.
There followed a Cultural Item “Gimme Dumpling” entertainingly and confidently performed by a little girl from Montego Bay Infant School.
Kay Osborne giving the Keynote Address

The keynote address was given by Kay Osborne of Kay Osborne and Associates, whom we remember as having taken over the reins at TVJ at a critical time. She had read Dr. Bell’s book from cover to cover and highlighted some salient points. She surmised that it was love that drove Dr. Bell to write this most important book, a great achievement in a country where people love to talk but not act. Many of the problems in Jamaica, including crime and violence, stem from mental health problems. Teachers are not usually aware of contributing to harming a child, and could instead help the child if they knew how.  Even small interventions can be helpful, including encouraging the class to applaud good behavior in a disruptive child. Parents sometimes abandon children with problems to the teacher, but a child can be helped best when teachers, parents, social workers and psychologists work together.
Dr. Bell made her response after an introduction by Mrs. Shona Herron, who claimed that Dr. Bell lives what she teaches, and is a social worker at heart, finding great joy when she is able to diagnose and treat. She is a graduate of UWI, received her doctorate at Nova South Eastern  University and her post-doctoral work was at Walden University. Previously, she was a teacher at St. James High School for many years.

Dr. Bell herself confessed that teaching was her first love. It was in schools that she found that teachers lacked the knowledge of disruptive behavior disorders, and what to do when confronted by them in the classroom.  

Books on sale.
Dr. Bell signing a copy of her book

If you are a teacher, I strongly recommend you to buy this book, or ask your principal to buy it for your school. If you’re not a teacher, please encourage all the teachers you know to get hold of a copy and read it.

Next week: a review of the book.

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