What is Pediatric Neuropsychology?

Photo of a young happy family having breakfastPediatric Neuropsychology is a subspecialty within neuropsychology that assesses learning and behavior in the child’s brain via formalized neurocognitive and psychological testing.

A neuropsychological evaluation helps to determine an individual’s pattern of cognitive strengths and weakness. This information can be used to better understand thinking problems someone may be having in their daily life.  Results from a neuropsychological evaluation can help to identify the nature and degree of any cognitive problems, aid in differential diagnosis, guide medical or rehabilitation treatments, and assist in educational or vocational planning.

When is neuropsychological testing appropriate?

There are concerns or evidence of cognitive difficulty impacting daily functioning, progress through rehabilitation, or educational/vocational success.

There is evidence of prior cognitive difficulty in academic settings that might impact future educational or vocational rehabilitation goals or processes.

What procedures are used?

The evaluation involves:

  • A review of relevant records
  • An interview with the family
  • Administration of standardized neuropsychological testing
  • Scoring and interpretation of results

Cognitive domains such as attention, memory, and executive function are often assessed. In addition, academic skills such as reading comprehension, spelling, and basic mathematics can be evaluated. Finally, elements of mood and psychological adjustment are frequently evaluated.

How long does the evaluation take?

A pediatric neuropsychological assessment can last 4-5 hours; however, longer evaluations may be warranted depending on the reason for the referral and depending on the child, may take place over the course of either one or two days.

How is a neuropsychological evaluation different from that of an assessment performed in the school?

These assessments typically are used to ascertain qualification for special education services.  In general, these types of assessment do not diagnose a neurodevelopmental disorder whose etiology is rooted in altered brain function or development.

Frequently evaluated populations:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Autism and other Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Learning disorders and ADD/ADHD
  • Neurological conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, etc.

How to Make Referral

To make a referral, please contact our office at (206) 859-5030, or visit our referrals page.

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