Pediatric Neuro Psychology



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What Should I Expect?


A neuropsychological evaluation includes questionnaires about the child’s history and neuropsychological testing. Testing involves paper and pencil and hands-on activities, answering questions and tests. Parents are asked to fill out questionnaires about their child’s development and behavior. The clinical neuropsychologists work together with  research masters to assist with the administration and scoring of tests, so your child may see more than one person during the evaluation. Parents are usually not in the room during testing, although they may be present with very young children. The time required depends on the child’s age and problem. Make sure your child has a good night’s sleep before the testing. If your child wears glasses or a hearing aid or any other device, make sure to bring it. If your child has special language needs, please alert the neuropsychologist to these. If your child is on stimulant medication, such as Ritalin, or other medication, check with the neuropsychologist beforehand about coordinating dosage time with testing. If your child has had previous school testing, an individual educational plan, or has related medical records, please bring or send this information and records to the neuropsychologist before review. What you tell your child about this evaluation depends on how much he or she can understand. Be simple and brief and relate your explanation to a problem that your child knows about such as “trouble with arithmetic,” “problems understanding visual information,” or “feeling upset or anxious.” Reassure a worried child that testing involves no “shots.” Tell your child that you are trying to understand his or her problem to make things better. You may also tell the child that “there is no ‘’right’’ question, it's how you think about it, you can do this”. Your child will find the neuropsychological tests / evaluation interesting. The detailed information that is gathered will contribute to your child’s care and educational (special) program.


What Is Pediatric Neuropsychology?


Pediatric neuropsychology is a professional specialty concerned with learning and behavior in relationship to a child’s brain. A clinical pediatric neuropsychologist is a licensed academic psychologist with expertise in how learning and behavior are associated with the development of brain structures and systems. Formal testing of abilities such as Intelligence, Attention and Memory (I AM) skills assesses brain functioning. The pediatric neuropsychologist conducts the evaluation, interprets the test results, and makes recommendations. The pediatric neuropsychologist may have different roles in the care of your child and can be asked to follow your child over time to adjust recommendations to the child’s changing needs. The pediatric neuropsychologist will work closely with the International School Eindhoven (ISE) to manage the child’s problems. This can help to  provide appropriate educational programs for your child.


How Does a Neuropsychological Evaluation Differ From a School Psychological Assessment?


School assessments are usually performed to determine whether a child qualifies for special education programs or therapies to enhance school performance. They focus on achievement and skills needed for academic success. Generally, they do not diagnose learning or behavior disorders caused by altered brain function or developmental problems.


Why Are Children Referred for Neuropsychological Assessment?


A neuropsychological evaluation assists in better understanding your child’s functioning in areas such as memory, attention, perception, language, and personality. This information will help you and your child’s teacher and/or therapists to provide interventions for your child that will meet his or her unique needs.


What Will the Results Tell Me About My Child?


By comparing your child’s test scores to scores of children of similar ages, the neuropsychologist can create a profile of your child’s strengths and weaknesses. The results help those involved in your child’s care in a number of ways. Testing can explain why your child is having school problems. For example, a child may have difficulty in arithmetic because of an visual attention or memory problem or information processing problem. Testing also guides the pediatric neuropsychologist’s design of interventions to draw upon your child’s strengths. The results identify what skills to work on, as well as which strategies to use to help your child. Testing can help detect the effects of developmental, neurological, and medical problems, such as epilepsy, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD) or a genetic disorder. Testing may be done to obtain a baseline against which to measure the outcome of treatment or the child’s development over time. Different childhood disorders result in specific patterns of strengths and weaknesses. These profiles of abilities can help identify a child’s learning style and can differentiate between verbal or nonverbal disabilities.  Most importantly, testing provides a better understanding of the child’s behavior and learning in school, at home, and in the community. The evaluation can guide teachers, therapists, and you to better help your child achieve his or her potential.