A neuropsychological evaluation is a form of psychological testing that examines your child’s mental abilities as they relate to neurologic or other medical disorders, mental health difficulties or problems at school. The primary focus of a neuropsychological evaluation is your child’s cognitive functioning, considering abilities (e.g., intelligence, language, visual-motor skills, memory and attention) and organizational skills. Behavior and emotional factors are also considered as they affect your child’s performance, but they are not the main focus of evaluation.
The primary goal of a neuropsychological evaluation is to understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses. With this knowledge, we can assist the group that cares for your child, including your family, your child’s physicians and professionals that work with your child at school.
Conducting a Neuropsychological Evaluation
A neuropsychological evaluation is typically conducted during one or more daytime appointments, at a time when your child is accustomed to doing school-type work. Appointment length varies depending on its purpose, your child’s age and their mental abilities. Most children above age five require two testing sessions lasting two to three hours. Findings and recommendations are discussed with parents during a separate one-hour session. Attendance at the feedback session is required, as it is necessary for integration of test results with parents’ understanding of their child.
After the neuropsychological evaluation, you will receive a report detailing test findings, impressions and recommendations. The report is designed to be shared with schools, physicians and others working with your child.
Due to the nature of our service, it is not usually possible for us to attend off-site conferences, such as school meetings. We cannot evaluate children in languages other than English, so our ability to serve non-English speaking children is limited.
How This Evaluation Differs from Others
Mental ability testing of children below age five or six is typically different from neuropsychological testing of school-aged children and provides slightly different information. With younger children, the most appropriate approach to ability measurement is typically a developmental evaluation.
Neuropsychological and psychoeducational (school-based) evaluations often overlap because they measure many of the same abilities. Neuropsychological evaluations offer the benefit of our experience with complex neurological and medical disorders in childhood and consider results within the framework of brain functioning. Some areas of ability, such as memory, attention and problem-solving, are addressed in neuropsychological evaluations but are not typically assessed in school settings. Psychoeducational evaluations, on the other hand, may offer more detailed diagnostic information about subtypes of learning problems and more specific information relevant to school curricula and academic programming.
Uses of Neuropsychological Evaluations
Neuropsychological assessment can inform the diagnosis and management of some medical conditions that affect brain functioning. It can help to track your child’s status and response to treatment over time. A neuropsychological assessment may be useful for certain medical conditions, including:
- Brain tumor
- Leukemia or other types of cancer
- Brain injury
- Brain infection
- Systemic/metabolic disease (such as those involving the liver, kidney, immune system)
To request a neuropsychological evaluation, contact 1-800-543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC). We review each request to ensure that an evaluation is likely to be helpful to your child. For example, if your child has recently been tested, re-evaluation may not be useful. In such instances, we provide consultation to you to help you to seek appropriate services.
Please note: Insurance companies vary in their coverage for neuropsychological evaluation services, depending, in part, on the reason an evaluation is being requested. Our reimbursement specialist will help you to determine your coverage and the cost of an evaluation.