A neuropsychological/psycho educational evaluation is an in-depth confidential and personalized assessment of skills and abilities linked to brain function. Based on a number of standardized tests, the evaluation measures the underlying cognitive processes that may contribute to academic, emotional and/or behavioral challenges .
When is a Neuro Psychological Evaluation Needed?
There are several reasons why you may require a neuro psychological evaluation. They include:
- Ruling out the possibility of suspected disorders and/or conditions (for example: learning disorders, ADHD);
- When a prior evaluation can no longer explain the individual’s current challenges;
- When a psychological diagnosis or an updated assessment is needed in order to access services and/or much needed accommodations;
- Prior to the start of any specific medical treatments (such as brain surgery, medication and chemotherapy) or to determine the impact of brain injury/concussions;
- The need to develop effective and appropriate treatment plans or interventions;
- When current or attempted treatments/interventions are ineffective at modifying the problem areas;
- When the student repeatedly fails to succeed in a second language learning environment, despite the motivation, effort and supports provided; and
- The need to have a second opinion because you suspect that the previous assessment did not really address or fully explain the individual’s issues.
If you answered yes to one or more of these concerns, then a neuropsychological evaluation is advised.
What Does A Neuropsychological Evaluation Measure?
Typically, when environmental demands exceeds our capabilities, we develop and rely on a number of “coping strategies” as a way to respond to the stress and pressures we are faced with. These “coping strategies” may be positive and helpful as well as negative and disruptive. Avoidance and rebellious behaviors are examples of negative coping strategies. When faced with these negative behaviors, the root of the problem is often masked. When this happens, the underlying cause of the problem is often missed and the interventions are then focused on managing and controlling the negative behaviors rather than intervening at the root cause of the problem.
Therefore the goal of psychological testing is to provide valuable and helpful information regarding you (or your child’s) unique profile of strengths and weaknesses. The primary objective is to have an accurate and differential understanding of your (or your child’s) challenges, so that the educational, behavioral, social and/or emotional issues can be addressed. In other words, it could help determine whether the challenge is due to emotional,social or behavioral issues, or whether it is linked cognitive deficits.
Specifically, the evaluation can help identify whether you (or your child) has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a specific learning disorder (including dyslexia), autism spectrum disorder, and/or a nonverbal learning disability. It can also establish the impact of brain injury/concussion, alcohol or drug related abuse and other psychological and/or neurological conditions on cognitive functioning. Typical areas of cognitive functioning include:
- problem solving,
- verbal and visual memory,
- auditory and visual processing,
- intellectual quotient (I.Q.)
- visual-spatial skills,
- academic skills,
- executive functioning,
- motor skills, and
- social-emotional functioning.
Keep in mind that the purpose of psychological evaluations is to answer specific questions or concerns.
The Benefits Of a Neuropsychological Evaluation:
A detailed and good comprehensive evaluation will typically provide:
- an in depth understanding of any learning and/or behavioral challenges, based on the individual’s unique profile;
- an understanding of the child’s developmental level and whether early intervention or specialized services are needed;
- a “road map” so that treating professionals, teachers, and/or parents or guardians can establish effective and appropriate interventions and treatment plans;
- valuable information that allows for effective advocacy; and
- effective and appropriate recommendations, including compensatory strategies specific to the individual’s unique needs.
In short, an evaluation will help clarify the underlying problem area(s) so that you (or your child) can work to your potential and achieve success.
What to Expect?
Typically, the evaluation process begins with an intake interview. The goal of this interview is twofold. For one, it establishes an understanding of the challenges and needs. Secondly, it further determines whether testing is warranted and the type of testing needed.
The actual test administration can take anywhere from 4-7 hours. The sessions are usually scheduled in two hour blocks of time. Having said this, depending on the client the length of the sessions can be adjusted accordingly.
Interpretation and feedback of the test results are provided through a detailed written report or verbal report. Detailed written reports are generally needed for educational purposes. Written reports are generally available within shortly after the final testing session.
How Assessments are Billed?
The assessment fee generally includes test administration, test scoring and interpretation of results, report preparation/writing, the written report, and a one hour feedback session.