Why Do We Test?
Neuropsychological testing can help to determine an individual’s baseline or current level of functioning, assess cognitive decline over time, and also evaluate cognitive strengths and weaknesses. The individual’s profile allows the neuropsychologist to identify specific diagnoses and offer accurate guidance for rehabilitation, further treatment, school, career, and/or living situation.
Neuropsychological testing is useful to children and adults who want to obtain a second opinion regarding their cognitive challenges. Sometimes, adults suspect for many years that they have a neurocognitive disorder that originated in childhood (e.g., ADHD, learning disability). Other times, a family would like a second opinion or an independent evaluation for their child who was tested in the school system. Neuropsychological testing can determine whether such disorders are present.
Neuropsychological testing can be valuable if you suspect your child is not achieving to their potential, or if you notice that they are not enjoying school or they are having behavioral issues not related to external factors. Testing can identify if you child needs specific accommodations in the learning environment or when taking tests. You might wonder why your child has significant strengths in some areas and unexplained weaknesses in others, leading to suspicions about an undiagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and/or a Learning Disorder
- A typical neuropsychological evaluation includes an interview with the neuropsychologist and a comprehensive battery of standardized computerized and paper-and-pencil tests of intellectual functioning, attention, memory, language, visuospatial processing, executive functioning, motor functioning, and learning strengths and weaknesses.
The evaluation also includes measures of behavior as well as instruments to assess mood and personality. After the tests are administered, scores are calculated based on normative data. The tests results provide objective information about the patient’s functioning, as well as identification of specific issues that may benefit from intervention. At SANA, each evaluation is personalized to address the reason for referral. Specific measures may vary according to the patient’s age, symptoms, and other demographic factors.
- Establish a “baseline” and document individual strengths and weaknesses before problems are readily apparent. This is crucial to monitor for subtle changes that may become apparent in future evaluations.
- Confirming or clarifying a diagnosis in order to provide proper treatment and supportive services.
- Help differentiate among illnesses that have similar clinical features.
- Help in determining what compensatory strategies would be beneficial after a brain injury (i.e., stroke, head injury).
- Monitor changes in functioning over time following brain surgery or treatment of a neurologic condition.
- Treatment planning for cognitive rehabilitation utilizing strengths to compensate for weaknesses at home, work, school, etc.
- Determining cognitive strengths and weakness in a child experiencing neurologic or psychiatric illness to help with diagnosis and treatment planning.
- Identifying giftedness, intellectual disability, and/or learning disabilities (i.e., reading, writing, mathematics) in school-aged children for assistance in developing independent education plans.
- Evaluation of vocational abilities and return to work.
- Answering various medical-legal (forensic) questions
- After the testing is completed, tests are scored
- Test performance, history, and background information is considered and a report is prepared by the neuropsychologist
- The final report is usually completed one to three weeks following the testing day
- Follow-up and discussion with the neuropsychologist about the results and recommendations is available
- The written report is provided to the referring physician and other parties, as appropriate
- We will keep a copy of the report in our archives for future reference
- Under typical conditions you will get a copy of the report as well as the referring physician. Beyond this, a report will be provided to individuals for whom you provide us with a signed and dated consent to release information form. These are available for download and you can fax them or mail them back to us if you like.
- Results are usually written in the form of a report document. The report contains information about relevant history, your performance on the various tests, a summary and conclusions based on all the available information, and recommendations. Also, results are often conveyed in a person-to-person meeting with you and the neuropsychologist who was in charge of your evaluation.
– A list of your medications
– Any medications you may need during the day
– Water or a beverage, if you would like, to keep with you throughout the day
– A lunch to eat in the office. You may also leave the office for your lunch break.
- Evaluations are typically scheduled over 1-2 days. You will be in the office for approximately 4-7 hours.
- Short breaks and a lunch break are worked in to the schedule as needed
- The patient will interview with the neuropsychologist to discuss symptoms, concerns, and background. The patient’s spouse or family members may be present during this time to give additional information.
- A set of individualized standardized tests will be administered by a psychometrist or psychologist.
- Please check with your doctor, but unless your doctor tells you otherwise, please take all of your regularly scheduled medications as you would on that day if you were not doing the evaluation.
- While your doctor can tell you why they have suggested that you have a neuropsychological evaluation it is often because he or she feels they could do a better job of diagnosing or treating you with more information on the specific strengths and weaknesses you are demonstrating on the various tests administered as part of the evaluation.
- Referral is made to our office
- Our office then schedules an appointment for the evaluation
- Our office will verify insurance and obtain any additional information that may be necessary
- We will place a reminder call a day or so before the test day and answer any questions you may have
- Paperwork may be sent prior to the appointment to facilitate planning for, and conducting the evaluation
- Medical provider or concerned party identifies a need for more information regarding an individual’s learning, thinking, or memory