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:
- Problem solving & conceptualization
- Planning and organization
- Attention & concentration
- Memory & learning
- 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)