What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of cognitive and behavioral functions using a set of standardized tests and procedures. Various mental functions are systematically tested, including, but not limited to:
Who is Qualified to Conduct a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation can only be done by a licensed psychologist who has had specialized training and experience in the field, which include:
When is Neuropsychological Evaluation Needed?
A neuropsychological evaluation is recommended for any case in which brain-based impairment in cognitive function or behavior is suspected. Typical referrals are made to diagnose or rule out the following conditions, and to describe their impact on a person's cognitive functioning:
A neuropsychological evaluation is particularly useful for tracking progress in rehabilitation after brain
injury or other neurological disease.
Neuropsychological evaluation can assist greatly in planning educational and vocational programs. It can also be invaluable for disability determination or for forensic (legal) purposes.
Are All Neuropsychological Evaluations the Same?
No. A neuropsychological evaluation is not a fixed series of tests which anyone can give. Specialized training allows the neuropsychologist to select, administer, and interpret the particular battery, tests and procedures which will yield the most comprehensive understanding of an individual's strengths and weaknesses. While each neuropsychological examination is tailored to the needs of the individual client, some neuropsychologists, particularly in forensic settings rely on established batteries of tests supplemented by tests which explain or examine additional areas of function in more detail.
What is an Exam Like?
Generally, a neuropsychological evaluation involves a wide variety of tasks, most of which are done sitting at a table or at bedside in a hospital. There are no invasive procedures, no pain, no needles, or electrodes. The evaluation often takes 6 to 8 hours of face-to-face contact, but can vary widely depending on what information is being sought. The evaluation can be scheduled in a single appointment or in a series of appointments.
How are the Test Results Used?
That depends on the reason for the evaluation. Neuropsychological evaluations may: