What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
Prior to the evaluation, your child’s neuropsychologist will:
- Review your child’s medical or school records.
- Ask questions about your child’s medical, school and family history.
- Give some tests during the evaluation so that the healthcare team can better understand a broad range of your child’s thinking and behavioral abilities. This can take one to five hours, depending on your child’s level of functioning.
- Request a chance to watch your child at home and/or school if necessary.
- Have your child’s teacher complete additional forms about his learning behavior.
After the evaluation, the results and suggestions for improvement are reviewed with the parents. Plans are made for follow-up, such as contacting school personnel, physicians, rehabilitation professionals and others involved in your child’s care.
Read a parent’s guide to Pediatric Neuropsychology from the American Psychological Association.
How Neuropsychological Assessments Differ from Psychological Assessments
School psychologists, clinical psychologists, and neuropsychologists all employ similar measures when evaluating behavior – that is, they use psychological and other tests to examine how a child is functioning in comparison to his or her age-mates. Thus, an IQ test, academic achievement test, or test of a child’s emotional adjustment could be used by any one of these providers.
Despite this overlap in instrumentation, the services offered by each discipline are different. Assessments conducted by school psychologists focus on eligibility for special education or other school-related services and are generally focused on evaluating a child’s functioning in relationship to academic success. Assessments conducted by clinical psychologists are often focused on the psychological/emotional functioning of the child, though they can examine almost any aspect of the child’s cognitive or behavioral status.
School and clinical psychological assessments emphasize functions or psychological processes, without explicitly referencing brain structures or mechanisms. Results from a neuropsychological evaluation help the healthcare professional determine the proper rehabilitation, psychological, psychiatric or educational services for your child and family