Getting to know neuropsychological evaluations
As parents, we would do anything to make sure our kids are safe and healthy.
When it comes to their physical bodies, it’s always a bit easier to know how to help. Midnight Tylenol doses, a Band-Aid for a scrape (with an extra one for support), and an ice pack for a bump. We know what our child needs by taking their temperature, observing a blood-streaked knee, or a bruised bump. Even when all our parental at-home diagnostics fail us, we lean on doctors, MRIs, blood tests, and X-rays to provide us with more information about our children, so we can get them the help they need.
As for their mental, behavioral, and developmental concerns, it can be trickier (especially for our teens). Difficulty interacting in school, keeping up with lessons, or disruptions at home aren’t always easy to identify causes. If only we could grab a colorful bandage to solve everything. Luckily, understanding more about your child’s potential neurodevelopmental, academic, neurological differences isn’t something that needs to remain a mystery.
What is a neuropsychological evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of cognitive and behavioral functions using a set of standardized tests and procedures. It is performed by neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, and psychometricians, who are clinical psychologists with special training in understanding the relationship between the brain and various cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functions.
The main purposes of a neuropsychological evaluation are to:
Diagnose: It can help in diagnosing a variety of neurological, medical, and developmental disorders, such as:
- Intellectual abilities
- Communication disorders
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Specific learning disorders
- Motor disorder
- Other neurodevelopmental disorders
Describe: It provides a detailed description of a child or teen’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
Plan: It can help in planning treatments and interventions, offering recommendations for rehabilitation or strategies to not just cope, but thrive.
Educate: It can empower families with the keys to unlocking their child’s potential, giving direction to appropriate resources.
The evaluation typically involves:
Gathering information:The first step is a Behavioral History Evaluation, where we’ll understand what’s going on and answer questions about testing.
Administering tests: As part of the evaluation process, your child will complete questions, m assessments, and tasks virtually- all from the comfort of a familiar environment.
Diagnosing: You’ll receive a comprehensive, insightful evaluation report that you can use to better understand and advocate for your child.
The results of a neuropsychological evaluation can help inform decisions about medical treatments, therapeutic interventions, educational recommendations, and other aspects of your child’s care. Just as you would order a blood panel to know more about their internal physical health, this is no different. Armed with the right information, and the appropriate resources, your child’s future is bright.
Luckily, accessing virtual neuropsych evaluations in a timely manner is possible. In our upcoming webinar, join Monika Roots, MD, FAPA, Psychiatrist & Co-Founder, President at Bend Health and Jennifer Chang-Tran, PhD, Director of Neuropsychology at Bend Health, to learn how neuropsychological evaluations can provide a clearer picture of who your child is on the inside.