What is a Neuropsychologist? The National Academy of Neuropsychology defines a neuropsychologist as follows: "A clinical neuropsychologist is a professional within the field of psychology with special expertise in the applied science of brain-behavior relationships. Clinical neuropsychologists use this knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and/or rehabilitation of patients across the lifespan with neurological, medical, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, as well as other cognitive and learning disorders. The clinical neuropsychologist uses psychological, neurological, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological principles, techniques and tests to evaluate patients’ neurocognitive, behavioral, and emotional strengths and weaknesses and their relationship to normal and abnormal central nervous system functioning. The clinical neuropsychologist uses this information and information provided by other medical/healthcare providers to identify and diagnose neurobehavioral disorders, and plan and implement intervention strategies. The specialty of clinical neuropsychology is recognized by the American Psychological Association and the Canadian Psychological Association. Clinical neuropsychologists are independent practitioners (healthcare providers) of clinical neuropsychology and psychology."
Clinical neuropsychology is focused on understanding the link between the brain and behavior. For example, how changes in the health of the brain may affect the ability to pay attention, remember, or solve problems. This understanding between how someone thinks and acts and how the brain works is used to diagnosis and treat brain disorders.
How do I know if I need a Neuropsychological Evaluation? A neuropsychological evaluation may be warranted if you have a history of:
A developmental or school problem such as a learning disability, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or autism spectrum disorder/pervasive developmental disorder and want to return to school or are having ongoing interpersonal or occupational difficulties.
A neurological disorder such as hydrocephalus, epilepsy (seizures), or a brain tumor.
A brain injury from a trauma to the head, stroke, lack of oxygen, or an infection.
Other medical problems such as diabetes, chronic heart or breathing problems, certain genetic disorders, or treatment for childhood cancer.
Exposure to lead, alcohol, street drugs, or inhalants (carbon monoxide).
Concerns regarding memory decline or dementia.
Your physician may recommend a neuropsychological assessment to:
Help make, confirm or rule out a diagnosis (e.g., dementia, depression).
Provide treatment recommendations.
Monitor change in thinking and memory over time.
Get a baseline of your functioning before treatment with medicine or surgery.
Record a change in your functioning after a medical treatment (testing can be repeated to see if the treatment changed your functioning).
What does a Neuropsychological Evaluation involve? A neuropsychological evaluation involves examining thinking, behavior, and social-emotional functioning. The evaluation uses standardized tests and procedures. A neuropsychologist may also talk to family members and your other doctors. Tests may be performed using paper and pencil or on the computer. Neuropsychological evaluations typically include tests that measure the following:
Planning and organization
Attention and memory
Control over hand movements
Depression and anxiety
Aggression and impulsive behavior
The neuropsychologist will also review your medical records to help understand how the test results relate to daily life.
A typical neuropsychological evaluation with will entail 3 separate visits:
Clinical InterviewThis visit typically lasts 1-2 hours and entails conducting a clinical interview focused on the current concerns, the history and progression of the concerns, and attempts to remediate the concerns. Prior to this appointment, the neuropsychologist will have reviewed pertinent records such as previous psychological evaluations, medical records, psychiatry records, and any other relevant records to better understand the current concerns. This visit may be conducted in-person or virtually (via HIPAA-compliant telehealth), based on clinical appropriateness.
Assessment This visit is typically an all-day session. Testing begins in the morning and continues through the afternoon with a break for lunch. Your testing session could be completed in-person in our office, virtually (via HIPAA-compliant telehealth), or via a combination of the two. Each assessment battery is customized to the referral question.
Feedback The final visit entails providing feedback regarding her findings and recommendations for intervention or management. At feedback, the neuropsychologist will share any diagnoses that are made. They will share a detailed conceptualization about any areas of deficits noted on testing, areas of strengths and how these interact to influence functioning. At this session, the neuropsychologist will also share a detailed list of recommendations that are customized to the findings of the evaluation. In some cases, the neuropsychologist will recommend specific accommodations in the school setting such as extra time on tests, note-takers, and other academic accommodations based on the person's needs. Following feedback, you will be provided with a detailed and comprehensive report that includes the background and history, tests administered, performance on domains assessed, conceptualization, diagnoses (if warranted) and recommendations. This report can be used to help other providers obtain a more detailed understanding of the person's functioning, and can be shared with school personnel if needed, in order to coordinate academic accommodations. This visit may be conducted in-person or virtually (via HIPAA-compliant telehealth), based on clinical appropriateness.
I'd like to learn more about obtaining a Neuropsychological Evaluation. What can I do next? We are here to help answer any additional questions you may have. You can contact us via email at info@neuropsychologySTL.com, you can submit a request to be contacted by phone in the contact form below, or you can always call us at 314-324-3800 during normal business hours.