Neuropsychological evaluations are requested to help your doctors and other professionals understand how the different areas and systems of the brain are working, in particular, as this relates to behavioral functioning at work, in school, or in everyday life. Typically, we receive referrals for neuropsychological evaluation in order to assess:
- Cognitive, emotional and behavioral functioning following suspected or documented traumatic brain injury or diagnosis of Post Concussive Syndrome.
- Cognitive and behavioral effects of non-traumatic brain disorders, such as strokes, anoxic brain injury (oxygen deprivation), toxic conditions, tumors, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological conditions.
- Suspected early signs or known cases of dementia to assist in differential diagnosis and with recommendations for behavioral management.
- Possible Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, Learning Disorders or developmental disabilities
- Complex multifactorial conditions which often involve a combination of psychological (emotional) and neurological factors.
- Abilities related to issues of competency such as in guardianship and conservatorship/ testamentary capacity and placement issues.
- Injury-related litigation
A typical neuropsychological evaluation will involve assessment of the following:
- General intellectual abilities
- Attention and concentration
- Academic skill attainment
- Learning and memory
- Higher level executive skills (sequencing, reasoning, problem-solving)
- Processing speed
- Language functions
- Visual-spatial skills and perception
- Motor and sensory skills
- Emotional and personality functioning
How are the findings and test scores used or applied in understanding an individual’s specific situation?
Test scores that are obtained can be compared to scores from persons of similar age, education, and experience. By using normative scores from large groups of healthy persons for comparison, we can judge whether or not your scores and pattern of test performance are normal for your age and educational background. In addition, the pattern within an individual’s test scores are reviewed to estimate whether or not there are indications of a change in certain abilities. The pattern of test performance and report of current functioning and history may be consistent (or inconsistent) with certain neurobehavioral conditions, which is important because appropriate treatment depends on accurate diagnosis. Your physician will use this information along with the results of other tests, such as imaging of the brain and laboratory tests to arrive at the most informed diagnosis possible. The results can be utilized to establish a “baseline” or reference to document a person’s current abilities so that changes in the future can be measured objectively.
Finally, testing identifies an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in specific areas. This information is used in future treatment planning. The results also can be used as measures of everyday functional skills, such as managing money, driving, ability to reside independently or readiness to return to work.