Neuropsychological Evaluation

What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation?

A neuropsychological evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of cognitive and behavioral functions using a set of standardized paper and pencil tests and procedures. In this way, neuropsychological assessment provides a functional ‘map’ of an individual’s brain performance within various areas of cognition (thinking).  This map is then interpreted in the context of a patient’s history (i.e., medical and psychosocial) as well as known patterns for various neurological or psychiatric conditions.

Various mental functions are systematically tested, including, but not limited to:

  • Intelligence
  • Problem solving & conceptualization
  • Planning and organization
  • Attention & concentration
  • Memory & learning
  • Language
  • Perceptual & visual processing abilities
  • Emotions, behavior & personality

What is a Neuropsychological Examination like?

  • Generally, a neuropsychological evaluation involves a wide variety of tasks which are done sitting at a table.
  • There are no invasive procedures, no pain, no needles or electrodes.
  • The evaluation can take up to 6 hours of face-to-face contact, but can vary widely depending on the individual and what information is needed.
  • Rest & lunch breaks are taken to ensure that an person’s best performance is obtained
  • These evaluations are typically scheduled over the course of a single day.

How Are the Test Results Used?

The use of the results varies depending upon the reason for referral. However, most neuropsychological assessments are to:

  • Confirm or clarify diagnosis
  • Provide a profile of mental strengths and weaknesses to guide management of the individual at home, work or other settings
  • Document changes in functioning compared to previous neuropsychological examinations
  • Provide information on what compensatory strategies would help (i.e., if environmental changes are needed)

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