Neuropsychology is the study of the relationships between the brain and behavior. A Clinical Neuropsychologist is a licensed, doctoral-level psychologist who applies principles of assessment and intervention based upon the scientific study of human behavior as it relates to normal and abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. Neuropsychologists conduct evaluations to characterize behavioral and cognitive changes resulting from central nervous system dysfunction, disease or injury. This can include Learning disorders, Traumatic Head Injury, Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, etc. Neuropsychologists also specialize in the remediation of, or adaptation to these behavioral and cognitive problems. NADC Neuropsychologists have backgrounds in assessment and treatment of emotional disorders, behavioral disorders, chronic pain, and neurological disorders for children and adults.
What is a Neuropsychological evaluation?
Neuropsychological Evaluation is an evaluation of the brain-behavior relationship. It is the unique integration of genetic, developmental, and environmental history with formal test data to create a narrative report that tells the story of the patient and gives highly specialized recommendations. Formal testing assesses cognitive, personality, and functional areas through: Intellectual and Academic functioning, Executive Functioning, Memory - attention, short & long term memory, visual & auditory memory, Language and Reading skills (receptive, expressive, figurative, semantic, syntactical), Phonology, Gross motor development - balance, hemispheric dominance, fine motor control & speed, L-R discrimination. Executive skills assessment includes: problem-solving, planning, organization, inhibition, attention, and spatial relations. In addition, because personal efficiency and effectiveness are dramatically affected by emotional state, we also evaluate Personality functioning to understand how the patient feels about themselves and interacts with the world around them. Collateral information and Behavioral Assessment is sought from parents, educators, doctors, and therapists when appropriate. Typical direct assessment time is typically between 6 and 8 hours.
When and Why is a Neuropsychological evaluation necessary?
When their is a disturbance in the normal pattern of brain-behavior relationship, this will cause deficits in learning, behavior, mood, and development. These disturbances may be related to injury, or illness, or genetic coding. Neuropsychological Assessment provides the road map to understand these problems.
What is the difference between a Neuropsychological and Psychological evaluation?
Our experience has been that most psychological problems have a neurocognitive substrate. A standard psychological or psycho-educational evaluation evaluates basic intellectual, academic, and personality functioning. A Neuropsychological assessment goes into greater depth with executive functioning, attention, memory, visual spatial, and language functioning. A Neuropsychologist is specifically trained to evaluate the brain behavior relationship and has a strong background in neurodevelopment. By using more data points with a more intensive look at genetic, developmental, and environmental facts - we believe that neuropsychological evaluations are more accurate. In a standard eval subtle learning disabilities may be missed because the greater specialization of neuropsychology was not used.
With a Neurodevelopmental perspective, we evaluate students for signs and symptoms of learning disorders. Each brain has unique strengths and weaknesses and diagnosis is never black and white - strengths and weaknesses are on a continuum. Assessment and treatment of subtle signs and symptoms is very important for overall success.We believe that many psychiatric and behavioral disorders are driven by mild neurocognitive disorders which affects how a person learns to deal with their environment.Most people are never made aware of these peculiarities in their learning style which eventually cause problems. For example, if a child has a visual spatial neglect, they will likely miss visual cues in their environment. Missing these cues will mean that we will not pick up on subtle nonverbal language in social relationships. This will cause them to be rejected by others, feel frustrated and depressed, and may cause them to choose other methods of acceptance or satiation such as drugs. In adult life, this person may continue feeling isolated because they never learned the tools to remediate such a problem.In fact, they never even knew there was a problem.
How will knowing this information help?
Assessment is the key to Understanding the highly complex functioning of the brain. Without this Assessment, therapies may be stumbling the dark about how to make a difference. In providing these very thorough neuropsychological evaluations, we are seeing the brain as a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. At NADC, we explain these complexities and lay out the road map for diagnosis, treatment, and accommodations so that this complex picture can be understood.
Treatment providers will now have the keys to helping clients with their problems in an efficient and effective manner.
What should I do to prepare for the neuropsychological evaluation?
What should I expect the day of the test session?
On the day of your appointment, you should bring the completed Patient Questionnaire (link). Please double check the location that you will be meeting the psychologist. Please do not be late or miss your appointment but call if there are any problems - 801.649.5300.
As you begin the testing session, the psychologist will want to get to know you better and establish and a working rapport. The session will most likely begin with an interview and a review of information. The testing portion will take between 4 and 6 hours and so at least one break will be necessary. Please bring a light snack for this break.
Most people find the activities stimulating and enjoyable. Each task will likely be novel and will test your abilities by becoming increasingly challenging. It is important to do your best but do not feel badly if you are unable to get all the answers correct. You will be asked to complete a variety of questionnaires and rating scales and other observers (parents, teachers) may be asked to complete rating scales as well.
What happens after the test session?
Once all of the tests are administered and rating scales completed and returned to us, the psychologist working with you will spend many hours scoring these tests and comparing the scores to normative samples.
Next, the psychologist will spend a considerable amount of time putting all of this information together to determine the appropriate diagnoses, to form an accurate and complete picture of your strengths and weaknesses and your unique psychological or neuropsychological profile, and to prepare a detailed report of these findings as well as a comprehensive set of specific recommendations.
A Feedback session will then be scheduled. Our psychologist will meet with you and your family to review findings and discuss the treatment recommendations. At your request, information and the written report can be sent to treatment providers.
How much will the evaluation cost? Will my insurance company cover?
The total rate for an in-office Neuropsychological Evaluation including a follow-up is dependent on the questions that must be answered as well as the location of the assessment (in-office, in treatment center, etc). Charges include Interviews, test administration, scoring, interpretation, report writing, and a follow-up visit for feedback and recommendations. A detailed and narrative report of the evaluation which includes recommendations will follow in a timely manner and an in-person feedback session will be scheduled at the earliest convenience for the family and the Neuropsychologist.
Neuropsychological Assessment may be considered a medical (not mental health) benefit and often insurance carriers will provide reimbursement for such an assessment. If a patient is relying on insurance, they should check with their insurance company about coverage. Because reimbursement rules may change at any time we require payment at the time of service but will help in the reimbursement process.
Therapy, Behavioral Consultation, and specialty treatment is also fee-for-service and this can be discussed at the appropriate time.
Our medical partners (pediatricians, psychiatrists, and neurologists) do accept some insurance carriers and this can be discussed when appropriate.
Travel and On-site Assessment or Treatment can be provided at additional cost.