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Pediatric neuropsychology deals with the relationship of children's learning and behavior to their brain structures and systems. A learning disability does not mean your child is incapable of gaining knowledge and growing; instead it means a different method of teaching must be applied.

Who is a Neuropsychologist?   
It is important to understand that not all psychologists are neuropsychologists. A neuropsychologist is an individual who has obtained a doctoral degree in psychology (typically a PhD) from a university accredited by the American Psychological Association. Following completion of the doctoral program, which includes a one year internship, a two-year fellowship in neuropsychology is completed. This fellowship is one component of the necessary training for a neuropsychologist and includes training in the areas of neuropsychology, neuroanatomy, and  brain function.

What does a Neuropsychologist do?

Although a neuropsychologist is a “doctor,” neuropsychologists do not prescribe medications nor do they administer medical tests such as a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) or Computerized Topography (CT) scans. Neuropsychologists assess functional brain development using a battery of specially designed neuropsychological tests. And we are then willing to help find the resources and treatment that will best suit your family’s needs.

How Does a Neuropsychological Evaluation Differ From a School Psychological Assessment? School assessments are usually performed to determine whether a child qualifies for special education programs or therapies to enhance school performance. They focus on achievement and skills needed for academic success. Generally, they do not diagnose learning or behavior disorders caused by altered brain function or development.

What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation and what should we expect?
Our neuropsychological evaluations typically involve three to five appointments. The first appointment is a one-hour consultation where we will meet with parents and the patient to discuss concerns and review records (e.g., school records, medical records) that you may bring with you. If, following consultation, a neuropsychological evaluation is deemed necessary, we will schedule a time to complete the evaluation. The length of the evaluation depends on many factors including the referral question and age of your child. The evaluation process typically includes an interview and neuropsychological testing in one or more of the following areas: 

  • attention and concentration
  • memory
  • language
  • executive functioning (planning and organization)
  • visual processing
  • fine motor dexterity
  • processing speed  
  • adaptive functioning
  • emotional and behavioral functioning
  • intellectual functioning
  • academic achievement

The neuropsychological evaluation itself involves direct testing with the patient. The direct testing may include verbal questions and answers, paper and pencil testing, computerized tests, and nonverbal testing. There are no medical tests involved in the neuropsychological evaluations. There are no blood draws or injections administered.  
Following completion of the evaluation and integration of test results and available records, verbal feedback is provided during what is typically a one-hour appointment. During this time, you will be able to ask any questions about the results and recommendations that will be provided. A comprehensive written report which includes results of the evaluation and recommendations will be provided to you. Should you choose to do so, you may share the written report with physicians, school personnel, and other care givers involved in your child’s life.
Although recommendations for intervention and treatments may be made, the neuropsychological evaluation itself is not an applied treatment or intervention. It can, however, provide important diagnostic clarification and a profile of strengths and weaknesses so that treatments and interventions can be individually tailored to best meet the needs of our patients.