The goal of a neuropsychological evaluation is to improve a family’s understanding
of a child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses in order to identify targeted and
effective interventions. The evaluation consists of a comprehensive intake interview,
followed by 4 to 6 hours of testing, culminating in an explanatory feedback session
that presents the results in one coherent picture. A number of areas of functioning
are assessed including:
- Intellectual/Cognitive abilities
- Academic (achievement) skills
- Executive Functioning (e.g., attention, organizational skills)
- Learning and memory skills
- Language skills screening
- Visual-motor and visual spatial skills screening
- Emotional/personality functioning
- Social/Adaptive functioning
A neuropsychological assessment can be instrumental in
understanding a child's learning style and approach processing
information in the world around them.
School Admissions Testing
Many independent schools, and some competitive public schools, require standardized testing as part of the admissions process. Most often, this entails IQ testing, achievement testing, or both. The goal of such testing is to help families and schools understand if there is a good fit between the student and the educational program/institution.
Testing For Accommodations (e.g., extended time on exams)
In order to qualify for accommodations on tests (e.g., SAT, ACT) and in a child's academic environment, recent standardized testing is required to document a student’s need for extra support. The exact nature of such an assessment depends on the student’s recent testing history and his or her qualifying disability. These evaluations frequently entail cognitive, academic, and executive functioning testing in order to assess how well a student can demonstrate his or her overall cognitive potential under standardized test conditions.
Gifted & Talented Testing
Assessing for superior intellect can be the first step toward creating an appropriate educational program for your child, gaining access to enrichment programs, and connecting your child to other gifted children. Many schools and programs for gifted and talented students require standardized testing as part of the admissions process or to qualify for special gifted programming. Most often, this entails IQ testing, achievement testing, or both.
Participation in School Meetings
It is very helpful to have the psychologist who conducted your child’s testing present the findings at his or her IEP Team meeting for a number of reasons. First, it is always nice to have a friendly face at the table! Second, this enables me to explain the results of testing in detail, emphasizing the most important aspects of the findings and answering any questions the school might have. Most importantly, if the school suggests services that differ from those recommended in the testing report, I will be there to analyze and address the appropriateness of the alternate service plan.
When considering the best school placement and academic accommodations for your child, it is very helpful to have the psychologist who conducted the testing observe the current and/or potential school setting. A school observation can help make a strong argument for why certain accommodations need to be put in place. It can also address questions like:
Is this classroom setting (e.g., a substantially separate class) the right level of support for my child, or is it too restrictive?
Are the accommodations that the school has recommended helping or alienating my child?
Is the school supporting my child’s social development in addition to his or her academic development?
Parents are welcome to schedule a consultation with me at any time following their child’s evaluation and feedback session. The reasons for such consultation include discussing strategies for implementing recommendations in detail, or discussing a child’s progress in the months following the assessment, among others.
Consultation with Other Professionals (e.g., Pediatricians, Psychiatrists)
An important aspect of implementing the recommendations that result from testing is comprehensive communication with other professionals in your child’s life. Such consultation is helpful, both before and after testing is completed, to be sure all pertinent information is collected and shared.
Developmental assessments for young children (roughly ages 2 through 5) provide vital information during a period of rapid learning. They provide information about a child’s strengths and weaknesses in the following domains of functioning: cognitive, language, motor, social/emotional, and adaptive (e.g., self-care). This type of information is vital when considering school placement and when determining if special help or support may be needed. Depending on the evaluation findings, recommendations could be made for evaluations or services by other specialists (e.g., speech/language services, occupational therapy), referrals could be made to special education or early intervention programs, or suggestions could be made to parents regarding ways to enrich a child’s experience at home.
You might consider a developmental evaluation for your child if you have concerns related to learning problems, language difficulties, motor delays, behavioral or social concerns, early signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism disorder or global developmental delays.
The earlier even slight delays are identified the better! Intervention for delays is usually easier and more effective the sooner it is introduced.