Services – Neuropsychological Evaluations

Neuropsychological Evaluations

Age related cognitive changes     Learning Disorders     ADHD

Neuropsychological assessment involves a systematic evaluation of cognitive abilities, such as intelligence, academic skill, memory, language, attention, problem solving abilities and visual-motor skills as well as sensorimotor function and personality. The results of neuropsychological assessment can assist physicians, family members or caregivers in making decisions about the person’s treatment options, rehabilitation potential, capacity, school placements or interventions and other issues.

A comprehensive report summarizing our findings, including recommendations for potential treatments and the likely consequences of the patient’s difficulties in daily functioning, is prepared for the referring physician. A feedback session with the patient and family can also be provided.

Age Related Cognitive Changes

 

  • Can I combat memory and cognitive changes as I age?
  • How do I preserve my independence?
  • I keep losing things and forgetting appointments; do I have dementia?

Neuropsychologists play a leading role in the evaluation of the memory complaints and changes in cognitive functioning that frequently occur in the later decades of life. Although some healthy aging persons maintain very high cognitive performance levels throughout life, most older people will experience a decline in certain cognitive abilities. This decline is usually not pathological, but rather parallels a number of common decreases in physiological function that occur in conjunction with normal developmental processes. For some older persons, however, declines go beyond what may be considered normal and are relentlessly progressive, robbing them of their memories, intellect, and eventually their abilities to recognize spouses or children, maintain basic personal hygiene, or even utter comprehensible speech. These more malignant forms of cognitive deterioration are caused by a variety of neuropathological conditions and dementing diseases.
Comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation can help determine the cause of the cognitive changes you or your loved one are experiencing, whether they related to the normal aging process, psychological factors, or a neurodegenerative disorder. We collaborate with other healthcare professionals to design treatment plans that maximize you or your loved one’s quality of life. Our evaluations may also help physicians, family members and patients make decisions about a person’s competency or ability to maintain their independent lifestyle.

Source: (APA Presidential Task Force on the Assessment of Age-Consistent Memory Decline and Dementia, 1998, p. 1298)

Learning Disorders

  • My child is falling behind in school, I’m worried she may have a learning disorder.
  • Does my child need additional time to complete assignments?
  • Does my child need accommodations to take the SATs?

A child’s primary “job” is learning. When a child fails to acquire academic skills as expected, this failure may mean the presence of subtle brain dysfunction of a developmental nature. The critical issue is to identify brain-related dysfunction, so that academic and behavioral interventions can begin in a timely fashion and maximize a child’s benefit from schooling. Early, appropriate intervention can reduce the likelihood that the child will experience continued failure, which may lead to more severe emotional or behavioral difficulties. These types of interventions may include environmental modifications, remediation, rehabilitation, or the introduction of compensatory strategies.

Source: Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology 21 (2006) 741–744 The importance of neuropsychological assessment for the evaluation of childhood learning disorders NAN Policy and Planning Committee.

 

ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurobehavioral disorder of childhood and can profoundly affect the academic achievement, well-being, and social interactions of children; Children in whom ADHD is inappropriately diagnosed might be labeled inappropriately, or another condition might be missed, and they might receive treatments that will not benefit them.

Given that the problems of children with ADHD very often go beyond the disorder itself, any assessment of this condition should address not only primary ADHD symptoms but also other aspects of the child’s behavioral, emotional and social functioning. This information also often serves as a basis for determining how well parents and other caretakers will be able to implement treatment strategies.

It is also important to note that ADHD is a condition that can affect individuals throughout their lifespan. About 60% of children with ADHD become adults with ADHD. Less than 20 percent of adults with ADHD have been diagnosed or treated, and only about one-quarter of those adults seek help.

Thought to be biological and most often genetic, ADHD takes place very early in brain development. Adults with ADHD may exhibit the same symptoms they had as children, and although hyperactivity often diminishes by adulthood, inattentiveness and impulsivity may persist. Adults with ADHD may also have a hard time organizing things, listening to instructions, remembering details, or difficulty completing tasks, which can affect their relationships at home, school, and work.

Source: Pediatrics. 2011 Nov;128(5):1007-22. ADHD: clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents.