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Pediatric and Adult Neuropsychological Assessment: The profession of neuropsychology evaluates individuals with standardized assessments to determine the presence of various disorders such as brain injury, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, and Autism, etc.

What is Adult Clinical Neuropsychology?

Clinical neuropsychology is a specialty that focuses on the relationship between brain function and expressed behavior. A clinical neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist with expertise in how behavior and skills are related to brain structures and systems. The clinical neuropsychologist conducts the evaluation and makes recommendations. He also may provide treatment, such as cognitive rehabilitation, behavior management, or specialized psychotherapy.

To learn more about Adult Clinical Neuropsychological evaluation, please click here.

Why should I see a Clinical Neuropsychologist?

Neuropsychological evaluations are requested specifically to help physicians and other professionals understand how areas and systems of the brain are operating. Testing is usually recommended when there are symptoms or complaints involving memory and thinking. Symptoms may include changes in concentration, attention, inhibition, reasoning, memory, language, perception, coordination, or personality. These changes may be due to any of a number of medical, neurological, psychological, or genetic causes.

What does a neuropsychological evaluation include and assess?

How are test results used to understand my specific situation?

By using a normative data set of scores for comparison, as well as qualitative data obtained through observation, the neuropsychologist can interpret your performance within the context of your age and background. The pattern of your test scores is reviewed to estimate whether or not there have been changes in certain abilities. How you solve the various problems and answer questions during the examination are also noted. Using these methods, your strengths and weaknesses can be identified.

What is Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychology?

Pediatric neuropsychology is a specialty that focuses on the relationship between brain function and expressed behavior within the context of a child’s neurodevelopment. A pediatric neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist with specialized training and certification in how learning and behavior are associated with the development of brain structures and pathway systems. The pediatric neuropsychologist administers evaluations, interprets test results, and makes recommendations. The neuropsychologist may also provide or recommend treatment, such as cognitive rehabilitation, neuro-cognitive therapy, behavior management, or psychotherapy. The neuropsychologist will consult with parents, physicians, and school personnel to coordinate appropriate intervention.

To learn more about Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychological evaluation, please click here.

Why your child may need Pediatric Neuropsychological Assessment

Children may be referred by parents, physicians, school professionals, or other allied health care professionals. Referrals often have to do with:

What does a pediatric neuropsychological evaluation include and assess?

What Will the Results Tell Me About My Child?

The pediatric neuropsychologist creates a profile of your child's strengths and weaknesses. The results help those involved in your child's care in a number of ways.

What Should I Expect?

A pediatric neuropsychological evaluation usually includes a comprehensive interview with parents about the child's history, observation of and interaction with the child, and standardized assessment. This may involve paper and pencil and hands-on activities, answering questions, and sometimes using a computer. Parents may be asked to fill out questionnaires about their child's development and behavior. Many neuropsychologists employ trained examiners (psychometricians and/or advanced doctoral students) to assist with the administration and scoring of tests, so your child may see more than one person during the evaluation.

Parents are not in the room during testing, although they may be present with very young children. The time required depends on the child's age, presenting problem, and compliance behavior. Comprehensive testing typically requires at least two testing sessions.

Make sure your child gets enough sleep before testing. Make sure to bring your child’s glasses, hearing aid or any other prescribed device they use. If your child has special language, vision or hearing problems, please alert the pediatric neuropsychologist prior to testing.

If your child is prescribed stimulant or other medication, check with the pediatric neuropsychologist and the prescribing physician beforehand to coordinate dosage and administration time.

If your child has had school testing, an individual education plan (IEP), or has related medical records, please send copies or bring these records to the evaluation session.

What you tell your child about this evaluation depends on how much he or she can understand. Be simple and brief, and relate your explanation to a problem that your child knows about, such as "trouble with spelling," "problems following directions," or "feeling upset." Reassure a worried child that testing involves no "shots." Inform your child that you wish to find out the things the child does or does not do so well. If we find out things they do not do well, then we will help them improve. You may also tell the child that "nobody gets every question right," and it is important to "try your best." Many children find the neuropsychological evaluation interesting.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Executive Functioning Assessment

Assessing ADHD involves an evaluation of attention and inhibitory systems along with executive functioning abilities. This assessment is far more complex than simple checklist/observation diagnosis used in most settings.

Attention and executive functioning are important brain functions that have a large impact on many other brain functions, such as directing motor systems, mediating sensory stimuli, procedural memory for learning automaticity, and social and academic learning.

When should a child be assessed for ADHD?

The core symptoms of ADHD include inattention (e.g., difficulty sustaining attention or focus, distractibility, difficulty following directions, seeming forgetful), hyperactivity (e.g., fidgeting, talking excessively, being in constant motion, difficulty remaining seated), and impulsivity (e.g., initiating problem solving without thinking, inappropriately blurting out comments or answers, difficulty waiting one’s turn, and frequently interrupting others). Children with ADHD may exhibit different symptoms at different levels of intensity. Some children may appear inattentive or may be described as day dreamers. Others may be in constant motion. Some may have difficulty habituating routines for morning time, homework, etc. Others still may be loud, outgoing, and have difficulty controlling and reigning in their behavior.

Autism Spectrum

Although autism spectrum disorder is commonly diagnosed, the actual assessment is complex, involving observation, standardized assessment, and a structured interview with parents.

Autism Spectrum & Developmental Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a group of developmental brain disorders associated with a wide range of specific symptoms, levels of impairment, and skills. Children may have few or many symptoms, and may range from mild to severe impairment. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition and The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition {Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders}) define the specific elements of Autism Spectrum classification.

Children typically progress through developmental stages in a similar order and time frame. Mild delays and variance in development are not uncommon; however, when young children exhibit longer delays and difficulty developing specific skills (unrelated to a medical condition or hearing loss), a comprehensive evaluation may be appropriate. Symptoms of ASD typically fall into three areas:

Children with ASD may show any combination of symptoms. Common difficulties include, but are not limited to: lack of interest in others, delayed language development or unusual use of language, unusual emotional or sensory responses, repetitive movements or behaviors, and restricted and intensely focused interests.

Psychodiagnostic

Psychodiagnostic assessment includes a diagnostic interview with parents and several sessions of interaction with the child. The results can lead to insights about the child’s social and interpersonal way of being, which in turn assists the direction of recommendations.

To learn more about assessment of the following concerns, please follow the links below:

·        Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) & Executive Functioning

·        Learning Disorders (LD)

·        Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

·        Social-Emotional Concerns