Neuropsychological Assessment

At Neurosense, we offer a comprehensive neuropsychological assessments  designed to provide key insights and individualized roadmaps to ensure meaningful progress and attainment of targeted goals.  At the foundation, we analyze neurodevelopment and brain integrity. With that baseline, we then assess social, emotional and behavioral functioning.  Most importantly, our in-depth evaluations and recommendations provide a thorough and actionable path that translates academic test results into real life solutions.

 

A good neuropsychological assessment simply takes time and care. In our office, we try and honor an individual’s test-taking style, pace, stamina, and comfort while spending enough time dedicated to uncovering strengths, testing limits, and knowing the person before us.  We do not feel this is best accomplished in marathon sessions packed full of testing demands.  We will usually block at least 10 hours for each client spread across different days as it works for each person.  If more time than that is needed, we offer as much time is necessary without any additional fees, as our goal is accuracy and appreciation of the whole person.  We remain aware of deadlines when we schedule so that information can be ready for specific purposes and requests.

 

Lastly, for many professionals who conduct testing, numbers and statistics are the name of the game.  For us, tests and test scores are only a piece of a much larger puzzle. Our aim is to understand a whole person (their strengths, needs, passions, and drivers). Individuals operate in real time with real circumstances and real challenges and deserve hands-on and specific ideas that make sense rather than generic recommendations.  It is with this in mind that we carefully construct recommendations, make sure to follow-through on their success, to oversee and guide plans coming to fruition, and remain in close touch following the completion of a neuropsychological evaluation. Truly, a feedback session about test results is not the end of the journey but just the beginning.  It is the last mile that counts.

 

In this vein, we recognize that ongoing guidance and fine-tuning of plans are part of the process.  We pride ourselves in staying connected; on following through with recommendations, planning, and prioritizing once an assessment is complete; and on tracking progress and offering support and resources throughout the years.

Our Approach

Is:

  • Carefully thought out
  • Individualized
  • Successful in capturing the essence of the person
  • Patient and flexible because testing clients should not be rushed in and out
  • Infused with some play and humor
  • Comprehensively conducted with no stone left unturned
  • Integrated into the fabric of larger life considering school, home, and community settings

Is NOT:

  • Conducted in a vacuum
  • Crammed into one or two sittings because it takes time and care to truly know someone so that observations can be accurate
  • Full of cookie cutter recommendations
  • Focused on numbers versus interpretation
  • Placed in the hands of users to figure out on their own
  • Without testing of limits and true capacities

FAQ

What is the difference between neuropsychological, psychoeducational and psychological testing?

Psychoeducational Testing is usually designed to examine a student’s learning needs and cognitive functioning without additional information and understanding as to why there is a learning challenge and educational impact.

 

Psychological Testing may dig deeper into additional variables affecting an individual’s functioning but not all the areas covered in a neuropsychological evaluation. It is conducted by clinical psychologists who do not have the post-doctoral training and a deep understanding of the brain and brain functioning that neuropsychologists have.

 

In both psychoeducational and psychological evaluations, interpretation of test results is conducted from a more limited lens.

 

Neuropsychological Testing is the highest level of assessment available and does not “leave any stone unturned” as it pertains to uncovering underlying contributors and causes of problems (e.g., whether they are behavioral, emotional, learning, developmental, injury or disease related, etc.).  Because of the comprehensive nature the tests, any conclusions and potential diagnoses are highly accurate. Recommendations that are formulated are based on a much deeper understanding of an individual with attention to important details and nuances allowing for the provision of a more holistic and 360-degree view of an individual’s challenges.  We will observe students in their natural school and/or home settings when indicated.

What does neuropsychological testing entail?

In a nutshell, neuropsychological testing examines the integrity of brain functions and their impact on life.  What this looks like is administration of a series of tasks or brain challenges such as answering questions, solving visual problems and puzzles, playing computer games with certain embedded demands, completing questionnaires, forming concepts, and interpreting pictures as examples. The purpose of the tasks is to gain information about any or all of the following core domains:

  • Intellectual Functioning (problem-solving, reasoning, visual spatial skills, speed of processing, capacity to hold information)
  • Academic Functioning (reading, writing, math, spelling, automaticity of knowledge, need for academic and testing accommodations, consideration of optimal school placement)
  • Memory and Learning (the manner in which both visual and auditory information are registered, organized, retrieved, retained, and held over time)
  • Attentional Resources (basic arousal, activation, internal organization, ability to divide and shift attention, to filter unnecessary information, to shift attention, and to sustain attention)
  • Executive Functioning (abilities such as organization and planning, working memory, inhibition, mental flexibility, initiation, task completion, efficiency, self-regulation, self-monitoring, and concept formation)
  • Language (vocabulary development, verbal reasoning, verbal fluency or quick verbal output and flow of thought, verbal organization, quality of conversation or pragmatic communication)
  • Motor Skills (strength, balance, coordination, motor speed, fine-motor control and dexterity, pencil grip, functional hand skills)
  • Visual and Auditory Processing (essentially the manner in which we organize, discriminate, interpret, and remember incoming visual and auditory information for use in day to day life)
  • Integration of Important Functions such as combined visual and motor skills that might impact note-taking, speed of processing, or accessing skills simultaneously
  • Sensory Issues (e.g., identification of any sensory sensitivities, capacity for sensory integration, reactivity, regulation, movement needs, etc.)
  • Adaptive, Daily Functioning (e.g., basic examination of an individual’s mastery of daily living, community safety and awareness, ability to function independently as expected for one’s age, communication skills, life skills, etc.)  
  • Social, Emotional, Personality and Behavioral functioning (This is a rich and robust portion of the evaluation that examines variables such as social skills, quality of friendships, communication, social awareness, social motivation, understanding of self and others, perspective-taking, sense of internal experiences, perceptions, self-esteem, emotional regulation, coping skills, etc.)

We explain the process to children, adolescents, and young adults as one of discovery directed at uncovering the best things about your brain and to better understand those areas where you may become more stuck.  For kids, we frame our work together as that of “brain detectives.” We also help parents explain to their children why they are coming in and remove any stress associated with the idea of “testing”.

Is a full neuropsychological evaluation always needed?

When testing is needed, the route of a neuropsychological evaluation will most comprehensively answer questions. Realistically, however, it is not always feasible for families with time and/or financial constraints.  In these cases, the following is how we think about it:

  • Some information is better than no information;
  • Better for that information to come from someone who really understands brain-behavior relationships and who can offer consultation and guidance with that knowledge base and keen observation;

Sometimes people have targeted questions such as simply wanting to know if an attentional or learning problem exists; might need some information about personality functioning; or need an IQ score for admission to a particular school.  It is always possible to come up with a collaborative plan to offer the maximal level of guidance with specific tests selected and based on what the most pressing needs are.