What is Neuropsychology?
Neuropsychology is the scientific study of brain-behavior relationships. The knowledge is used to evaluate and treat individuals with neurological problems impacting on development, learning, behavior, cognitive functioning, and social-emotional development.
What is a Neuropsychologist?
A neuropsychologist is a psychologist who specializes in evaluating and treating individuals who are thought to have a problem in the way their brains are functioning. A neuropsychologist has had education and training related to the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the nervous system. A neuropsychologist also has had specific training in evaluating and treating different kinds of central nervous system disorders.
What is Neuropsychological Assessment?
A neuropsychological assessment may include evaluation of the following areas:
- intellectual functioning
- academic achievement (reading, writing, math)
- ability to learn and remember
- language functions
- visual/spatial functions
- attention/concentration/executive functions
- sensorimotor functions
- personality / social emotional development
- adaptive behavior
- interpersonal relationships
As part of the neuropsychological assessment a comprehensive history is taken which includes information regarding pregnancy, birth, health, development, education, and day-to-day functioning.
Why Refer for Neuropsychological Assessment?
An individual be referred for neuropsychological assessment for the following reasons:
- problems with attention span and distractibility
- problems with learning
- problems with development
- problems with behavior
An individual may also referred for assessment is he/she has the following conditions or problems:
- Experienced a brain injury and there are concerns with behavior/learning/cognitive functioning.
- There are concerns with memory and other cognitive functions.
- Experienced a concussion and decisions need to be made with respect to work, school, and sports participation
- Is undergoing a medical treatment which can affect behavior/learning/cognitive functioning (radiation, chemotherapy, anticonvulsant medication).
- Been exposed to a toxic substance and there are concerns with behavior/learning/cognitive functioning.
- Has had a stroke
- Has a seizure disorder
- Has metabolic problems
- Has endocrine problems
- Premature birth and/or in utero exposure to drugs/alcohol
The functional purposes for the evaluation can be varied and include:
- To describe the degree of impairment
- To measure progress and development
- To assist in the development and implementation of educational and therapeutic plans
- To assist teachers and therapists with challenging behaviors
- To assist parents/spouses/caregivers in understanding the individual more fully.