A Neuropsychological Assessment is testing, evaluating, and a means to clarify brain function. Comprehensive assessments are tailored to meet the diagnostic and treatment needs of the patient and the referring provider. Most commonly, neuropsychological evaluations are sought to provide diagnostic clarification, inform intervention recommendations, as well as identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition, neuropsychological evaluations may be helpful to rule-out or rule-in a specific disorder or condition.
Tests are designed to identify cognitive weaknesses in specific areas, and are sensitive to mild memory and thinking problems that might not be obvious otherwise. Testing can help determine whether a person’s cognitive abilities are within normal range for their age, or if declines in function are related to a neurological disorder or other condition. Testing can also be used to identify problems related to medical conditions or developmental disorders that often affect thinking, or help determine the impact of pain, anxiety or depression on thinking skills.
Common Reasons for Neuropsychological Assessment
- Traumatic Brain Injury *
- Stroke *
- Various medical conditions that affect thinking skills and/or memory *
- Brain tumor
- Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological disorders
*ANPPS specializes in these evaluations
Please note that neuropsychologists do not provide assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning disorder or ADHD. If you or your medical team is seeking such an evaluation, consider the following: https://www.genhs.org/NCE
A typical Neuropsychological Evaluation will involve at least 3 appointments, completed on separate dates:
- Intake interview to discuss your presenting concerns and goals for assessment.
- Testing appointment to measure how your brain processes different types of information. These tests look at learning and memory, attention / concentration, visuospatial skills (e.g., perception), language, general intellect, executive skills such as problem-solving, assessment of daily living function, motor and sensory function, and mood / personality. These responses are recorded through paper/pencil writing, hands-on activities, answering verbal questions and sometimes interacting with technology, such as a computer. Testing may take more than one day, especially for children and adolescents. Testing is carried out in a quiet, one-on-one private setting and breaks can be taken as needed. In a Neuropsychological Evaluation, there is no imaging of the brain (such as CT or MRI) or any physiological measures (such as an EEG). The length of testing can vary anywhere from 2-6 hours, and this will be discussed at the conclusion of the intake appointment. As such, please plan to be at the clinic for a few hours and potentially return a second day to complete the assessment. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive clinic, and will ensure that testing is accessible to you. Any specific needs or modifications can be discussed during the intake appointment.
- Feedback - In this final appointment the neuropsychologist will present the results of testing, and discuss diagnostic impressions, prognosis if applicable, and detailed treatment recommendations for the patient and treatment team to review. You will have the chance to discuss and ask questions of the neuropsychologist. The patient and the referring provider will be given a paper copy of the evaluation.
Prepare for Success
We want you to be comfortable and feeling like yourself during testing. Set yourself up for a successful visit by taking the following steps:
- Have a good meal/breakfast prior to the appointment
- Receive as much sleep as possible the night before
- Wear glasses / contacts and or hearing aids (if applicable)
- Take daily medications, as prescribed, the night before/morning of the assessment (if applicable) - unless told to do otherwise by your prescribing provider
- Bring any snacks/lunch/beverages that you might want
- Bring a list of your medications with you and if you have copies of medical records bring those as well. The neuropsychologist will often want to review that kind of information to ensure a thorough assessment.