What are the most common problematics assessed? How are neuropsychological assessments orchestrated? What services are offered in neuropsychology? These questions and many more are answered here.
Typically, neuropsychological evaluations are asked to:
Understand the origin of cognitive, affective or behavioral problems are help diagnostic;
Establish a detailed profile of the client (with strengths and weaknesses);
Formulate clinical impressions on topics like learning difficulties, decision-making, financial responsibility, school placement and general autonomy;
Provide a rehabilitation plan;
Outline specific strategies and recommendations to overcome the difficulties observed;
Establish a cognitive portrait following an accident, operation or brain damage;
A neuropsychological assessment has typically three steps.
1- Data collection
Before starting the evaluation, the neuropsychologist will collect data from various sources. This will include (but not limited to) meeting with the parents and questionnaires filled by the parents, teachers, daycare professionals and other significant person in your child's life. The neuropsychologist will also consult previous assessments medical files or other relevant information.
2- Tests selection and assessment
Neuropsychologists work with standardized tests and assessments to compare a performance or a behaviour with a normative group. Personal strengths and limitations are also studied. In some cases, some state-of-the-art technologies can also be used to have a better understanding of the causes and repercussions of the situation. These are, but are not limited to, virtual reality, electroencephalogram (EEG) or neurofeedback.
Some of the tasks used as part of the assessment will be on a paper-pencil format, while others will be on the computer or by manipulating objects. The tasks are made to push the boundaries of what an individual can do and hence not all tasks will be successfully and thoroughly completed. This is normal and expected. Tasks are made so that they start easy and their difficulty level increases gradually until a limit is reached.
The evaluation process will most likely require more than one meeting of 60 minutes to 180 minutes. Short breaks are giving throughout the assessment process, varying with the age and the performance of the client.
3- Analysis and results
Once the assessment process is done, the neuropsychologist will analyse and score the tests. Many components will be looked at (ex: processing speed, number of good answers, types of errors). The performances on each task will be compared to a normative group. This ensures comparisons and in-depth understanding of the client's functioning.
Following this, a report summarizing the performances of the client will be produced. This report will give a broad understanding of the difficulties and their origins. Recommendation will be provided as well as techniques to alleviate the difficulties observed.
What are the most frequent problematic assessed in neuropsychology?
In children and adolescents:
Neurodevelopmental difficulties (ex: autism, dyspraxia, motor-skills)
Concussion or sport-related brain injuries
Have questions about children assessment? Please look at our next post about children assessments.
In adults and elders:
What services are offered?
Here are some of the services offered:
Attention assessment for ADHD
Neuropsychological global assessment
Learning difficulties related assessments (including, but not limited to: dyslexia, dysorthgraphia, dyscalculia and non-verbal learning difficulties)
School derogation (gifted children skipping one school year ahead)
Neurological difficulties (including, but not limited to: epilepsy, strokes, concussions, traumatic brain injuries and surgical interventions)
Motor related difficulties (dyspraxia for example)
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Memory loss or memory-related problems
...and many more!