There are a couple of things you need to know about neuropsychological evaluation so you can understand why your child may need it and how it may help them. Additionally, this information can also help you find the right person to administer the testing.
Learning about neuropsychological evaluations can get overwhelming. You may encounter confusing terms and face a lot of considerations that are difficult to manage. But becoming well-informed of these things ahead of time can equip you to provide the best care and support for aiding a child who needs neuropsychological help.
What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
Have you noticed your child struggling to perform simple daily tasks at home or at school? Perhaps, they have shown little to no progress despite the help you’ve provided them? Have these difficulties caused your child to be left behind in their lessons compared to other kids?
If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions, then your child may need a neuropsychological evaluation. This is a comprehensive assessment of your child’s capabilities. It considers their strengths and weaknesses with regards to their brain functions and cognitive skills. It also provides quantifiable data on the following areas:
- Visual-spatial skills
- Academic skills
- Social-emotional functioning
Now, don’t panic. Taking this test doesn’t mean your child is crazy. They are still the same child you’ve always known.
The purpose of the test is to inform you of the neurocognitive factors involved in their difficulties in learning and developing skills for performing simple tasks and responsibilities. Also, this can also help other parents, doctors, teachers, relatives, and friends interact with your child in a compassionate and understanding way.
The test recommends medical and psychological interventions and treatments that would be appropriate for handling a child’s strengths and weaknesses.
Finding the best Neuropsychologist
A neuropsychologist is the one who administers a neuropsychological evaluation on your child. This person is a licensed clinical psychologist who also studied neuropsychology. Neuropsychologists can identify neurocognitive factors that affect your child’s functioning capabilities at home and school.
You can find a neuropsychologist by asking your pediatrician, a therapist, other parents, or your child’s school for recommendations. A school may also make referrals based on their observation of your child’s behavior and academic performance.
You can also do an online search on the neuropsychologists in your area. You’ll want a doctor you can trust who your child can be comfortable with, so the following questions should be considered before hiring them.
- Is the doctor knowledgeable on neuropsychological evaluation?
- How much and how long is their evaluation?
- How well do they work with parents and the child?
- Do they consider educational recommendations in the report?
- Did they comprehensively answer your questions?
- Did they answer your concerns?
- Are they the kind of person you want to work with for a long time?
What tests are involved in a neuropsychological evaluation for my child?
The reason for a referral or the need for the evaluation may revolve around some of the following cognitive and psychological concerns. If your child exhibits any of the following symptoms, it may be time to consider looking for a neuropsychologist:
- Memory difficulties
- Mood disturbances
- Learning difficulties
- Nervous system dysfunction
- Cognitive deficits
- Language disorders or delays
- Intellectual disability
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Depressed mood
- Behavior difficulties in the home or at school
It’s best to personally ask your neuropsychologist about the different stages of the evaluation. The tests may vary depending on the reasons for the referral and request. Generally, the following parts consist the evaluation process:
This happens at the beginning of the evaluation so you can tell the doctor about your child’s developmental, medical, educational, and psychological history. You may also take this time to ask any further concerns and questions you may have about the evaluation.
Child Intake and Neuropsychological Evaluation
The neuropsychologist will start talking to your child to answer their questions and make sure they are comfortable. Your child may answer questionnaires about their emotional and social experiences depending on their age. The neuropsychological evaluation follows after where your child will meet alone with their doctor. This process may be completed in a day or may take several days depending on your child’s needs.
Classroom Observation and Consultation with Schools
Some neuropsychologists may offer to observe your child during their classroom activities, specifically monitoring their behavior, interactions, and ability to work with teachers and classmates, along with their independence, compliance, attention, and any anxiety in the classroom.
The findings of the evaluation will be shared with you along with recommendations for appropriate intervention and treatment. With your consent, the results can also be shared with your child’s school, teachers, and doctors. Depending on the child’s age and comprehension levels, they may also be included in the feedback session.
The following cognitive aspects are measured during your child’s neurological evaluation:
Intellectual Functioning (IQ)
This refers to your child’s reasoning and problem-solving abilities.
This assesses their understanding of concepts learned in school such as math, reading, writing, spelling, and academic skills that support learning.
Attention and Executive Functioning
This refers to your child’s ability to focus on a task while ignoring distractions in their environment.
Verbal and Visual Memory
Visual memory refers to your child’s ability to store and process visuals, and verbal memory refers to their capacity to store and process verbal information.
Visual-Spatial and Visual-Perceptual Processing
This refers to your child’s ability to create and identify spatial concepts such as angle and line orientation, location, direction, and object-space relations.
Visual-Motor and Fine Motor Coordination
This refers to your child’s ability to coordinate their visual and motor skills together such as hand-eye coordination, muscle movements, and interacting with small objects such as pencils, toys, and scissors.
This refers to your child’s ability to use their speech to communicate with others.
Adaptive Functioning (Behavior)
This refers to your child’s ability to adapt to their environment based on natural and social expectations. This includes communication skills, socializing with others, and regulation of emotions.
Let your neuropsychologist know in advance about any significant medical, academic, and psychological history your child may have. It’s also recommended to provide school records and report cards to aid in the assessment. Also, make sure to bring any visual or hearing aids and medications that your child needs during the evaluation.
When the testing is complete and recommendations have been given, the neuropsychologist may conduct follow-up consultations to answer any questions and concerns. They may also participate in school and/or IEP meetings or refer you to educational advocates and consultants.
The price for neurological evaluations depend on the child’s needs and the reasons for testing. It is best to ask them about their fees before you hire them.
Every child is different. With this diversity comes various challenges and struggles that your child may experience in their academic and social development. Some of these difficulties may be caused by psychological factors that are out of your control. Conducting a neuropsychological evaluation is one of the best ways to effectively help your child so you will know the appropriate treatments they need based on their strengths and weaknesses. And with their parents’ support, you child can surpass any challenges they may face.
We at Persona Neurobehavior Group can conduct a neuropsychological evaluation for your child. We provide the best help and support for you and your child throughout the whole process. If you have questions, contact us at 800-314-7273 or request an appointment with us.