A Neuropsychological Evaluation is the process of trying to understand the building blocks of thinking abilities through the use of short, functional tests. The results of the evaluation provide a pattern of strengths and weaknesses that help us to understand the cause of changes in thinking abilities.
There are a number of reasons why someone might see – or be referred to – a neuropsychologist. For example, he or she may be experiencing mild to severe changes or difficulties in thinking, memory, speech, personality, or other behaviors that interfere with their normal day-to-day routine. The kinds of changes or difficulties are often described as:
A neuropsychological evaluation is recommended when a brain related illness or injury is suspected. For example, our practice often evaluates patients in order to rule out or diagnose:
The results of the evaluation can provide a pattern of strengths and weaknesses that help other medical professionals understand the cause of changes in thinking abilities, and the extent to which the changes are affecting the patient’s functioning.
Evaluations have a number of important functions. They can:
Evaluations are designed to measure pattern of strengths and weaknesses in cognitive processing. Measures include Attention, Concentration, Learning, Memory, Problem Solving, and Reasoning.
Other useful applications include: treatment planning for cognitive rehabilitation; evaluation of learning and academic abilities; forensic procedures; and evaluation of vocational abilities.
We offer comprehensive neuropsychological test batteries to assess, aid in diagnosis, and guide in the treatment of each individual patient. The evaluation involves a number of different tasks, most of which are done sitting at a table. The evaluation is a way at looking at a number of abilities: problem solving, attention, memory, language and motor skills. Evaluations typically extend over a 4-8 hour period, including an interview. Testing is broken up into several shorter tasks so there is plenty of time to stop or take a break. The amount of time required for each test ranges from a couple of minutes to about 15 minutes. Areas evaluated include:
There are no right or wrong answers for any of the test items. What’s important is that you do you best.
It is important to understand that a neuropsychological evaluation is not a “fixed” series of tests that anyone can give. Specialized training allows a clinical neuropsychologist to select, administer, and interpret the tests and procedures that will provide the most comprehensive understanding of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Each evaluation is specific to the needs and clinical history of the patient.
The comprehensive Neuropsychological Evaluation also requires the neuropsychologist to review medical records, score the tests, write a report of the evaluation, and to spend time with the patient providing information and feedback from the evaluation.
The results of the evaluation are used in conjunction with neurologic and other medical evaluations as part of clinical decision making. Your test scores will be compared to scores from large groups of healthy people who share similar key attributes so we can judge whether or not your scores are normal for your age and educational background, and to help determine your unique strengths and weaknesses.
Frequently the patient will return a few months later to receive additional help integrating and/or tracking progress or other changes; the pattern of your own test scores helps us estimate whether or not there have been changes in any of your cognitive abilities.
The results will be shared with your referring physician in a summary report. Your results will help your doctors understand what problems you may have in everyday life. This will help guide planning for assistance or treatment.