This is a comprehensive evaluation used to assess how brain injuries or disorders affect a person’s cognition, behavior, and emotional functioning. Unlike brain imaging studies (like an MRI or CT scan), which can identify anatomical abnormalities in the brain, the neuropsychological assessment determines a person’s ability to perform tasks that require brain activity and are necessary for daily living, such as learning, language, and memory. Primary reasons for performing a neuropsychological assessment are:
- Define a person’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses,
- Assess social, emotional, and behavioral functioning,
- Assist in the diagnosis of various brain disorders,
- Uncover possible problems with brain functioning,
- Document changes in cognitive or emotional functioning over time, and/or
- Provide recommendations for the design of an effective treatment plan
The neuropsychological assessment consists of:
- A review of relevant historical information through:
- Patient interview
- Comprehensive review of medical and other records
- Interviews with family member or others who know the patient well (when appropriate)
- Administration of a series of standardized tests (that include oral questions, paper-and-pencil tasks, computerized activities, use of materials [such as puzzles and blocks], and other procedures) that assess:
- Executive function skills (including attention, working memory, planning, reasoning, decision making, flexibility, and problem-solving skills)
- Learning and memory
- Academic skill development
- Visual spatial skills
- Mood and emotion
- Sensory-motor functioning
- Work or school observations (as needed)
- Integration and analysis of test data and historical information
- Completion of comprehensive report that includes individually tailored treatment recommendations
- Review of results with patient, family, and referring provider
How long Test Administration Takes?
The length of neuropsychological evolution depends on individual performance and ability but generally take between seven and eight hours. This time includes breaks when needed and for food. Test can also be splint across multiple sessions when needed.
This type of evaluation assesses a student’s intellectual abilities, cognitive skills, and academic achievement skills to determine strengths and weaknesses that affect learning and school performance. It is typically requested to investigate learning disorders (LD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), language disorders, processing speed disorders, visual processing disorders, and/or poor school performance.
Core tests include the Wechsler Intelligence Scales, Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement, and other standardized measures of language, visual spatial skills, executive function skills, processing speed, memory, abstract reasoning, reading, writing, mathematics, and the motoric aspects of writing. Parent and teachers are typically asked to fill out rating scales and, when necessary, classroom observations are performed. A screening of social and emotional functioning is included because these issues often occur with or are consequences of learning difficulties.
Educational recommendations, including classroom accommodations, are provided.
Comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations can be performed to obtain accommodations for standardized testing (including SAT, ACT, AP exams, GRE, LSAT, GMAT, and MCAT) , such as extended time, testing over multiple days, testing in a distraction-free environment, use of a human reader, etc.
Private School Admissions Testing
This includes administration of measures of intelligence (e.g., Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fifth Edition) and sometimes academic achievement, depending on the school requirements.
These evaluations are used to:
-Clarify diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and personality disorders
-Assist mental health professionals in identifying psychodynamic issues that may affect therapy, to guide treatment plans
-These evaluations include interviews, observations, objective personality measures, and/or rating scales.
Accommodations for Standardized Testing
UCN provides evaluations for students with academic or learning difficulties who are seeking accommodations for standardized examinations, including the SSAT, AP tests, SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT. Testing accommodations are changes to the regular testing environment and/or auxiliary aids and services that allow students with disabilities to demonstrate their true aptitude.
Accommodations fall into five basic categories. Establishing which of these will be helpful to the student depends on the nature of the individual’s difficulties and their history. Testing evaluates which accommodation(s) will be the most helpful for the individual. The most common accommodations include:
Presentation: use of large print exam booklets, reduced number of items per page, or having the test questions and instructions read aloud (either with an audiotape or designated reader)
Response: allowing verbal responses, allowing a computer to be used for responses (with or without spell check or grammar programs), permitting answers to be written directly in the test booklet and having a scribe transfer answers to a Scantron bubble sheet, or allowing dictation of answers (with scribe, recording device, or speech-to-text software)
Time: extending allotted time to complete a test or allowing frequent breaks
Location: providing a space that minimizes distractions, minimizing the number of other students in the room, or providing special lighting or acoustics (e.g., noise canceling headphones)
Scheduling: allowing subtests to be taken in a different order, administering a test at a specific time of day, or allowing different sections to be taken on different days.
Is there a way to prepare for the evaluation?
Yes, there are several relatively easy considerations and steps, and individual can take to make the neuropsychological processes smoother.
- Have a good night sleep the night before
- Be sure to take any medications that are prescribed and typical to your daily routine.
- Have any relevant medical or school records available.
- Be sure to bring any supportive devices such as hearing aids, glasses etc.
- If applicable any previous psychological evaluations conducted.
- Ensure that solid effort is given for the full evaluation.