What is a Pediatric Neuropsychologist?
A Neuropsychologist is a Clinical Psychologist that has gone through education, experience and training in the field of Neuropsychology, a science which focuses on brain-behavior relationships. A Pediatric Neuropsychologist uses standardized tests and observes behavior to define a child’s pattern of brain functioning and overall development. The child’s performance is compared to what is expected at the child’s age-level or compared to a specific group of children. The child’s individual pattern of strengths and weaknesses is defined based on these comparisons. The pediatric neuropsychologist uses his/her knowledge of brain development, organization and functioning and their effects on development to guide the assessment, interpret the results and guide the recommendations.
How is this different from an assessment given at my child's school?
A Pediatric Neuropsychologist is trained not only in administering assessment tools but also in interpreting the results and diagnosing a variety of disorders. Although the pediatric neuropsychologist and a school psychologist may use some of the same tests, the pediatric neuropsychologist differs in not only the additional tests they use, but also what they do with the test results. The neuropsychologist is interested in how the child obtains a specific test score as well as the specific pattern of skills. Skills are broken down into component parts, attempting to define a pattern of strengths and weaknesses. For example, if a child is not paying attention in class, it is likely that they have trouble with homework and that his/her grades may start to slip. The Neuropsychologist can decipher why the child is having difficulty following a direction - whether it is because he/she could not attend to the direction, did not understand the direction, or did not remember the direction. The pediatric neuropsychologist works to understand where the child is having trouble and why, so that the appropriate measures can be taken to help the child excel.
A Neuropsychological Evaluation may include tests of the child’s intelligence, attention and concentration, learning and memory, processing speed, visual spatial perception, language skills, visual motor and fine motor skills, sensory perception, executive functioning (such as planning, organization, initiating and inhibiting behaviors) and emotional functioning, as well as academic functioning. The Pediatric Neuropsychologist interprets the pattern of results in the context of the child’s developmental stage, their current setting and the child’s medical history. An intervention plan is developed to support the development of skills and/or how to use the child’s strengths. The pediatric neuropsychologist can use assessment results to help parents plan for their child’s future, and to help that child reach his/her potential.
What can I expect from an evaluation at Cogwheel Clinic?
Your Child's Evaluation Process depends on the referral. We see students who need an IQ assessment for private school or need help deciding what type of school works best for their learning style, to kids who are having trouble at school and need help finding the right treatment to overcome Autism, ADHD and Learning Disorders. We see infants from six months old through 17 year olds, and kids on every level of the Autism spectrum, so every process is inherently based on the unique child we get to see.
Our general structure that we follow:
The first Session is with the child’s parent(s) or legal guardians to review the developmental history and provide a focus for the evaluation. We encourage both parents to attend this first meeting if at all possible. This meeting is Parent-Only.
The Second and Third sessions include testing with the Child and are generally conducted over two, half-day sessions, typically from 9:30 – 12:30 in the morning. We feel that in keeping sessions to this length, we are able to avoid the fatigue and stress that can accompany all-day evaluations. After the testing is completed, the tests are scored and interpreted, and all other history is reviewed. We often observe the child in our Sensory Motor room if appropriate, and discuss treatment from other professionals that are either previously or currently working with the child.
The Fourth Session is a feedback session with the parent(s) to go over the full report, review the findings of the evaluation and the impressions of the Pediatric Neuropsychologist. We will sit down with you and go over all the details, answer any questions and tell you where we think you should go from here. After this session we will finalize our report, detailing the reason for the testing, the child’s history, the tests used, their results, the diagnostic impression (if appropriate) and finally, the recommendations for interventions.