ARE YOU CONSIDERING PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL OR NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING FOR YOUR CHILD?
Focus Children’s Therapy Center offers a wide range of testing services at our center, in school and in a child’s home. We specialize in providing school based evaluations including speech and language as well as occupational therapy evaluations. Additionally we also specialize in Psychoeducational and Neuropsychological testing for all students.
Recently there has been a high demand from schools and families requesting further information on neuropsychological testing. Our highly skilled team of therapists specializing in neuropsychology are here to support you. We have put together an informational overview below to enable you to best support and communicate to families and children under your care. I hope you find this tool useful.
A Neuropsychological evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of cognitive and behavioral functions using a set of standardized tests and procedures. The specific mental functions that may be included but not limited to, are: Attention; Memory and Learning; Intelligence; Problem solving and Conceptualization; Planning and Organization; Language; Academic Skills; Perceptual and Motor Abilities; Emotions; Behavior and Personality.
Who is qualified to conduct a neuropsychological evaluation? A neuropsychological evaluation is mastered and completed by a PhD Psychologist who has had specialized training and experience in the field and has the proper training and/or supervision.
Who needs it? A neuropsychological evaluation is recommended for any child when there is any cognitive or behavior function concern or suspected. Typical referrals are made to diagnose or rule out the following conditions, and to describe their impact on a person’s cognitive functioning: Autism- ASD; Developmental learning disabilities; Attention deficit disorders- ADHD; any mental or language difficulty that affects socialization, academic or behavior.
Are all neuropsychological evaluations the same? There is a battery of testing, yet a specialized professional can select, administer, and interpret the particular tests and procedures that will yield the most comprehensive understanding of the child’s strengths and weaknesses. Each neuropsychological examination is tailored to the needs of the individual child/teenager.
When is it recommended to be administered for school? At every age, a child is working on mastering age-appropriate developmental tasks. If parents see their child struggle in the process, they may choose to bring their child in for neuropsychological testing. A comprehensive evaluation is often the best way to identify each child’s unique pattern of strengths and challenges and to develop an educational plan for using the child’s strengths in order to address areas of challenge.
- Neuropsychological Evaluation of Elementary School Children
In early elementary-school years, children are expected to learn to read, write, and master basic math concepts. Sometimes children who have not had any difficulties prior to starting school will struggle in the classroom. Parents of 6, 7, and 8-year-olds bring their children in for a variety of concerns related to learning and school performance. These difficulties could be caused by a variety of factors, including learning disabilities or ADHD.
- In later elementary-school years, academic expectations increase to include completing larger assignmentsand grasping more complex concepts. Some children who have done reasonably well until 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade, might struggle with increased expectations for independence and for managing larger, more complicated tasks. A neuropsychological assessment might reveal executive functioning difficulties, attentional challenges, or a learning disorder, as the root cause of a child’s struggles in school.
- Neuropsychological Evaluation of Adolescents, The emotional up-and-downs of early teen-age years, coupled with the challenges of navigating a complex social world of middle school, make it difficult for many children to make it through this stage without bumps along the way. Low self-esteem, anxiety about school performanceor friendships, strained relationships with parents, are some of the typical concerns that I hear from parents of middle school children.
- High school years bring with them increased expectations for structuring time, navigating peer and romantic relationships, and outlining plans for the future. Because of increased academic demands, a child with an undiagnosed learning disability, executive functioning difficulties, or performance anxiety might find it difficult to remain successful. Even if they have been able to “compensate” for their difficulties up until high school (often through high intelligence, hard work and determination), the students realize that in order to remain successful in high school, they will first need to address their difficulties.
Transition to college is a major developmental task of later adolescent years. Adjusting to living away from home, making new friendships, choosing a career path, and managing the academic workload are only some of the challenges that college students face. If there are learning or emotional issues that have not been addressed prior to this time, these issues will likely come to the surface during the college years. Again, a comprehensive evaluation can help figure out what is standing in the way of success, and how to help the student clear the road blocks.
At FOCUS, we are specialized in testing and intervention for all children. We provide a unique team approach for testing and intervention. Such holistic diagnostic and intervention help families and school better understand the child’s needs and develop the most appropriate plan that is tailored to the child’s behavior, cognitive and other functions of life.
For more information, please contact Jane Chapman-Holt, Director at the FOCUS Children’s Therapy Center by calling (201) 894-5800.