Neuropsychological and Learning Evaluation Services
The Neuropsychological and Educational Evaluation Service at the Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy offers comprehensive assessments for children, adolescents, and young adults. The program is designed to address a range of concerns, including those related to attention, learning, memory, intellectual functioning, hyperactivity, and impulsive behaviors.
Causes for Cognitive Concerns
There are many areas of cognitive vulnerability. Often these cognitive concerns are related to challenges such as ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, and language disorders. In the case of individuals with significant medical history, difficulties may be related to a medical condition such as epilepsy, brain tumors, leukemia, genetic conditions, metabolic disorders, extreme prematurity, or cardiac conditions. Certain events or incidents, such as a concussion, may also warrant a cognitive screening.
Addressing Educational and Neurodevelopmental Concerns
Children have unique strengths and weaknesses, and aiding them in overcoming their challenges requires a careful assessment to pinpoint areas of concern. There are a host of reasons for why these challenges may occur, and a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation can help clarify why a child, adolescent, or young adult may be struggling in certain areas. These challenges may also have additional impacts on mood, behavior, and interpersonal relationships.
Areas of Assessment
A comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation assesses different domains of functioning through testing and observation. These domains include:
- Academic Achievement
- Attention and Executive Functioning
- Intellectual Abilities
- Language Development
- Learning and Memory
- Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Functioning
- Visuospatial and Visuomotor Skills
Through these, a broad understanding of an individual’s cognitive profile can be developed. Once this overview is generated, it becomes easier to identify and hone in on the particular areas of challenge and create a systematic plan to help.
Components of a Comprehensive Evaluation
An evaluation consists of six components. The specifics of each component are tailored to suit the unique needs of each individual and family. A pediatric neuropsychologist conducts all components of a comprehensive evaluation to put together a clear picture of the child’s functioning. This allows for a better understanding of the causes of concern and how to address them. The information below offers a guideline of how evaluations will be structured, but is subject to variation as appropriate:
1. Initial Intake – This consists of an interview with parent(s) to assess the presenting concerns and the various factors that may be impacting them.
2. Record Review – A review of all relevant documents is conducted. This can include work samples, report cards, previous testing results, medical reports, or other data that may help to provide context and understanding of the concerns.
3. School Observation – When clinically indicated, observations are conducted prior to the pediatric neuropsychologist’s initial meeting with the child. This may be in person or virtual, and might take place during the area of study that is of concern (i.e. reading, math, etc.) or a challenging time period during the school day. Consultations with educators and clinicians who work the child may also be conducted at this time.
4. Testing Sessions – Each child meets with the pediatric neuropsychologist to complete a series of activities and performance-based tests that are carefully selected to assess key areas of functioning and understand the child’s cognitive profile. Testing is typically completed over the course of three sessions and includes appropriate breaks to ensure children work at their best.
5. Feedback – Feedback is provided in two ways. First, a comprehensive written report, including testing results, interpretation, diagnosis, and recommendations, is provided. Second, a parent feedback session is provided to review and explain results and diagnosis. Parents will be provided with clear, practical, and personalized recommendations to help address the causes of concern identified in the assessment. When developmentally appropriate, a child feedback meeting is provided to help children learn about their strengths and weaknesses and receive suggestions.
6. Follow-Up – Completing an evaluation is only the beginning of the journey. After testing is complete, the pediatric neuropsychologist remains available and committed to helping the child and family obtain appropriate interventions and support. This includes the option for attending IEP or other school meetings to provide recommendations for what is in the child’s best interest.
A comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation is most effective when supported by collaboration with families, teachers, school staff, tutors, therapists, physicians, and other important adults in a child’s life. At the Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, we understand that we are part of a greater team that needs to work together to best serve individuals and their families. Our goal is to play an active role in developing a practical learning plan to enable meaningful change and development for your child.