20 Aug Getting a Neuropsychological Evaluation
Why Get a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation provides an in-depth analysis of cognitive strengths and weaknesses. It is a procedure that can be performed for anyone having learning issues or showing signs of trouble focusing, anxiety and depression, mood swings, and more.
Neuropsychological evaluations are typically done for school-age individuals, but it is not restricted by age and can be performed for people of all ages, including children as young as four to five years old. The main focus of a neuropsychological evaluation is assessing one’s cognitive functions and detecting dysfunction in the brain, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or age.
Signs that someone might need to get a neuropsychological evaluation
Various symptoms can influence the request for a neuropsychological assessment for an individual. Some of these include:
- Poor grades
- Distorted judgment or decision-making skills
- Difficulty understanding mathematical concepts, including managing finances
- Asking the same question over and over again, demonstrating short-term memory issues
- Visual and spatial difficulties
- Poor motor skills and speed
- Slow processing speed
While the above signs do not need to be present to a certain extent, they should be significant enough that they hamper the individual’s ability to perform daily activities.
1. To understand brain strengths and weaknesses
The human brain has a vast range of cognitive functions. Proper functioning can lead to strengths, while weak cognitive functions can lead to difficulties in certain areas, including:
A neuropsychological evaluation tests a variety of brain functions. Not only does it detect dysfunction, but also the extent of how these differences or weaknesses compare to their peers.
2. Design a proper treatment plan
There can be a number of reasons for a neuropsychological evaluation to be conducted, such as when an individual has suffered from a traumatic brain injury or illness. If they have undergone brain surgery or other medical treatment, an expert may perform a neuropsychological evaluation to detect post-surgery or post-injury changes in cognitive functions.
The assessment also serves as a type of re-exam. It may be conducted after the injury and treatment to check and revise the treatment plan. In such cases, a neuropsychological evaluation also serves as a recovery checker.
If the recovery goes smoothly, the patient can return to work and participate in everyday critical activities as soon as possible. If not, doctors will analyze the results to devise another treatment plan to boost and restore the brain’s cognitive functions.
3. Analyze other tests to help diagnose the problem
The best part about a neuropsychological evaluation is its ability to combine results from different tests. It can use blood tests, ECGs, and brain scans to devise a treatment plan that works on the body as a whole.
This integral aspect can work as a game-changer. Problems with cognitive functions of the human brain can lead to long-term illnesses by having a lasting effect on the body. This fact is also true the other way around, where mental conditions like depression and anxiety can cause brain dysfunction.
Even if there is no underlying disorder, the evaluation can help detect other factors which can contribute to a decline in performance. One example is the process of aging. So a neuropsychological evaluation helps distinguish between severe and regular causes and develop appropriate physical, therapy, remedial, and psychotherapy treatments based on the individual’s results in question.
Neuropsychological evaluation for children and adolescents
Getting a neuropsychological evaluation is common for children and adolescents. Doctors often recommend it when the patient demonstrates issues related to learning and decreased attention span. Typically, these problems are apparent in school and work environments, where the students suffer from a lack of concentration.
Here is why a neuropsychological evaluation is suitable for students:
- It provides a detailed report to school authorities. The results can help them design a personalized learning plan, called an IEP, for the particular child.
- Accurately detect the underlying problem causing learning issues, like ADHD or other developmental factors.
Most schools do not offer a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation. Instead, they use a psycho-educational evaluation, which is more limited in scope compared to a neuropsychological evaluation. On the other hand, a neuropsychological assessment views abilities and functioning as two distinct categories and offers a more bird’s eye view of why the student is struggling.
A neuropsychological evaluation focuses on in-depth analyses of cognitive functions. It highlights strengths and weaknesses and the underlying causes that influence them.
The assessment results provide an in-depth window into why the individual is demonstrating difficulties. For adults who sustained brain damage, it is also beneficial to assess the speed and effectiveness of recovery from surgery.
Overall, opting for this evaluation will help detect underlying causes that might interfere with daily life activities and learning. The results will have a proper and effective treatment plan.
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Reasons to request a neuropsychological evaluation:
Clinical applications of neuropsychological assessment
Neuropsychological Evaluation FAQ
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