Neuropsychological Evaluations -- Who, What, and Why
Have you or your child been referred for a neuropsychological evaluation? Don't worry, it's not as scary as it may sound. Let's discuss the who, what, and why of child neuropsychological evaluations.
Who Should Get a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
A psychiatrist may recommend neuropsychological evaluations for children diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, autism spectrum disorder, and various other diagnoses. Neuropsychological evaluations may also be used to assess patients of strokes, concussions, or diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.
What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation? What Should I Expect?
A neuropsychological evaluation is an in-depth assessment of the way a person's brain functions. The entire evaluation lasts for several hours and includes a combination of an interview and a series of tests specific to functions such as memory, attention, problem-solving, and emotional and behavioral functioning.
The interview portion of the evaluation allows parents or family members to share their child's history with the neuropsychologist, as well as ask any questions or share their concerns about the assessment.
The testing portion will be completed by the child for whom the evaluation was requested. They will complete various assessments related to different functions of the brain.
After the evaluation is completed, families will receive comprehensive written results that detail the neuropsychologist's findings. From there, the evaluation may be used to develop appropriate interventions or treatments for the patient.
Why Should I Have a Neuropsychological Evaluation Done?
Neuropsychological evaluations can clarify facets of specific diagnoses and aid in managing a patient's treatment. These evaluations allow for statistical observations to be made in regards to one's cognition, emotional functioning, and behavior. The data then allows the patient and their family, as well as their doctor(s) and teacher(s) to glean a deeper understanding of the effects of their diagnosis.
For example, collecting observable data from an evaluation from a patient diagnosed with ADHD will help professionals determine the most effective treatments and interventions for that patient. These may include specific medications, school accommodations, or behavioral strategies.
Where Do I Go for a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
Dr. Udrea often partners with board-certified clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Glen Getz at Neuropsychology Specialty Care of Pittsburgh. Dr. Getz has worked with thousands of patients, both children and adults. He is a well-respected neuropsychologist and the author of two books in his field.