Neuropsychological Evaluations

Neuropsychological Evaluations

First, What is neuropsychology?

Neuropsychology is a specialized area of psychology that studies how the connections in our brain and its parts affect the way we behave and how it affects our mental abilities (i.e., memory, attention and concentration, language, etc..).

What is the difference between a psychologist and a neuropsychologist?

A psychologist typically assesses, diagnoses, and treats conditions related to emotional, personality, and overall psychological problems. A neuropsychologist is also a psychologist who in addition to, also assesses, diagnoses, and treats psychological disorders that arise from brain-related conditions such as brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Attention Deficit Disorder, and many other neurological conditions.

What is a neuropsychological evaluation?

A neuropsychological evaluation includes testing designed to evaluate a variety of mental abilities and provides indirect information about the integrity of the brain’s structures and overall brain functioning.

When should one look into getting a neuropsychological evaluation?

If you have been experiencing daily challenges in your life due to difficulties with memory, attention and concentration, language (i.e., cannot find the words when speaking), multitasking, making decisions, bumping into walls or hitting curbs while driving, forgetting dates, balance issues, or others have noticed changes in your personality, it might be beneficial that you seek a neuropsychological evaluation as the testing can help pinpoint the causes for these problems.  The testing can also identify weaknesses and strengths of your mental abilities which are important in guiding treatment. You will also learn about your overall mental and psychological functioning.

What is involved in the testing process?

A series of test are selected depending on the reason for the evaluation. The timeframe of the assessment may be between 2 to 7 hours in addition to a clinical interview which could take about 1 hour. Typically, the evaluation requires two separate appointments (one-day appointment can also be arranged) and an additional appointment to receive your results, which also varies depending on the level of the neuropsychological evaluation.

How do I prepare for testing?

  1. Have a good night sleep and be well rested! Testing will not be valid if you are drowsy and not fully alert.
  2. Have a meal or snack before your test. If you are hungry chances are that you are not going to be able to concentrate or give your full potential in the testing.
  3. Bring lunch and a snack! This is very important especially if you have a medical condition (i.e., diabetes), or when testing children.
  4. Bring your glasses! The test might not be valid if you have difficulties completing some tasks due to vision problems.
  5. Bring your hearing aids! The test might not be valid if you cannot hear the directions given or if you cannot hear any spoken sections on the test.
  6. Bring your caretaker, relative, or friend! It is important for your caretaker to stay in the waiting area throughout the entire duration of testing.
  7. Bring a list of your current medications! Unless your doctor provided and updated one to us (if referred by a medical provider).
  8. Bring any medications that you need to take on the testing day. Sometimes the timeframe of the appointment might be longer than expected.
  9. Bring a light sweater. Room temperatures may be somewhat cold at times, for some.
  10. Bring your best effort! It will be needed for valid results.
  11. Bring humor! We will be spending several hours together, and it is important to laugh in between tasks. Some people say some of the tasks are actually fun!