A neuropsychological evaluation takes place in several stages. Prior to the appointment, parents or guardians are sent a medical history form to complete. This gives the clinician an overview of the client's physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral health. Parents/guardians should also forward copies of relevant medical records (e.g., brain imaging, EEG reports) and school records (e.g., individual education programs, report cards) along with the neuropsychological history form. Your clinician will discuss which records are most important to send.
A clinical interview is conducted at the beginning of every assessment. During the interview, the history form is reviewed and the assessment plan is refined to answer the referral question. Some abilities are examined in more detail than others depending on the client's needs. A neuropsychological evaluation will evaluate the following domains:
Social skills, personality, and functioning in activities of daily living (ADLs) may also be assessed.
During the testing phase, clients are asked to answer questions, complete paper and pencil tests, and attempt hands-on activities. Some tests are administered by computer. Testing usually begins in the morning and is modeled after a typical school or work day. Clients take frequent breaks to rest and eat. Although the administration of tests is highly standardized, interactions with clients are relaxed. Clinicians work with the client to obtain their best performance. Parents or guardians are typically not present in the room during the assessment, but may be allowed to accompany very young or anxious children for some portion of the testing. The client's comfort is of utmost importance.
Parents or guardians are asked to fill out mood and behavior questionnaires, and are usually given a similar set of questionnaires to have their child's teacher complete. This allows the clinician to gather information about the parent's perceptions of their child, and how the client is functioning in an academic environment. When the assessment is finished, the neuropsychologist scores and analyzes a comprehensive set of data to determine the brain regions and systems that may be contributing to the client's difficulties. Parent or guardians and the client then return at a later date to obtain results and discuss treatment options.