Neuropsychological evaluations in children are used to determine a child’s cognitive abilities. This consists of giving a battery of tests measuring a variety of cognitive functions such as attention and concentration, vocabulary, abstract reasoning, and planning ahead. By giving an overall intelligence test battery (usually one of the Wechsler scales), one can compare the child’s overall ability to specific functions to see where any problems lie. Additionally, by comparing intelligence to achievement tests in reading, writing and math, one can determine if there is a learning disability in one or more of these areas. In order to get accommodations and/or support services for a learning disability at school or for standardized tests (such as the SAT), a full evaluation is necessary. A letter from a doctor or psychologist is not enough to get accommodations. In this case, it is beneficial to have testing done early in life in case accommodations are necessary on high-stakes tests later in life. Testing organizations expect to see a paper trail from early years.
What are the signs that indicate that my child needs a neuropsychological evaluation?
If your child is becoming frustrated by not being able to keep up with learning in school, you may want to consider neuropsychological testing to identify a potential learning disability. Children are not likely to come out and say directly that they are having problems, but they may “act out” and become cranky, cry, or become aggressive. These behaviors can be normal, but it can make for an unpleasant household. One should always contact the teacher(s) to see what their perspective is. A neuropsychological evaluation can determine specific cognitive problems related to neuropsychological disorders and learning.
Dr. Thomas and his staff have been in practice for over 30 years and have done thousands of neuropsychological evaluations with people ranging from age 3 to 93. The advantage of a neuropsychological evaluation as opposed to a psycho-educational evaluation is that brain-behavior relationships can be established in addition to the psycho-educational aspects.
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