evaluation assists in better understanding your child’s functioning in
areas such as memory, attention, perception, coordination, language, and
personality. It differs from
school assessments in that evaluations completed by the schools focus on
whether a child qualifies for special education services, whereas a
comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation allows for a much better
understanding of the child’s learning or behavior problems.
Children are typically referred for neuropsychological evaluation for the following reasons:
· Difficulty in learning, attention, behavior, socialization, or emotional control;
· A disease or inborn developmental problem that affects the brain in some way; or
· A brain injury from an accident, birth trauma, or other physical stress.
Areas that are typically assessed are as follows:
· General intellect
· Achievement skills, such as reading and math
· Executive skills, such as organization, planning, inhibition and flexibility
· Learning & memory
· Visual-spatial skills
· Motor coordination
· Behavioral & emotional functioning
· Social skills
Some abilities are measured in more detail, depending on the presenting concern and student needs. Detailed developmental history and data from your child’s teacher are also obtained.
Your child’s performance will be compared to scores of children of similar ages to create a profile of your child’s strengths and weaknesses. The results help those involved in your child’s care in a number of ways.
· Testing can explain why your child is having school problems. For example, a child may have difficulty reading because of an attention problem, a language disorder, an auditory processing problem, or a reading disability. Testing also allows the intervention to be crafted based on your individual child’s strengths.
· Testing can help detect the effects of developmental, neurological, and medical problems, such as epilepsy, autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) dyslexia, or a genetic disorder. Testing may be done to obtain a baseline against which to measure the outcome of treatment or the child’s development over time.
· Different childhood disorders result in specific patterns of strengths and weaknesses. These profiles of abilities can help identify a child’s disorder and the brain areas involved. For example, testing can help differentiate between and attention deficit and depression or determine whether a language delay is due to a problem producing speech, understanding or expressing language, social shyness, autism or cognitive delay.
· Most importantly, testing provides a better understanding of the child’s behavior and learning in school, at home, and in the community. The evaluation can guide teachers, therapists, and you to better help your child achieve his or her potential.