Posts

what to expect in a neuropsychological exam

Neuropsychological testing for kids at NSPT

what to expect in a neuropsychological exam

A child receives a referral for neuropsychological testing when there are concerns about one or more areas of development. Certainly, these areas of concern can include cognition, academics, attention, memory, language, socialization, emotional regulation, behavioral concerns, motor difficulties, visual-spatial, and adaptive functioning. Testing can identify your child’s learning style and cognitive strengths. Lastly, through testing, our neuropsychologists can recommend accommodations to implement at school and at home.

What is a neuropsychological evaluation?

A neuropsychological evaluation aids the psychologist in determining a diagnosis.
Such as:

How do I know if my child needs a pediatric neuropsychological evaluation?

An evaluation is usually recommended if your child has a medical condition such as Down syndrome, epilepsy, or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). So, the goal of the evaluation is to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses. With this information, we can provide the right treatment recommendations, determine progress and response to intervention, and monitor functioning.

After your pediatrician has made a referral for a neuropsychological evaluation, you need to schedule an intake appointment. Typically, each intake appointment is one hour long.

Is my child eligible for testing at NSPT’s neuropsychological testing center?

Due to our growing team, we are able to test a larger population. Most noteworthy, we offer three types of testing services:

      1. Early Childhood Developmental Assessment
        This is a multidisciplinary approach where our team works with a speech therapist and occupation therapist to assess children ages 15 months to 3 years, 11 months with developmental concerns ranging from socialization, language, and motor development. Each of the 3 scheduled testing appointments are typically on separate days.
      2. Neuropsychological Evaluation
        NSPT’s standard neuropsychological evaluation for individuals ages 4 through college-age.
      3. Adult ADHD assessment
        This is a new service we are now offering to adults who are interested in an ADHD evaluation. Typically, this is a one-day, 4-hour evaluation.

What should I expect during the neuropsychological intake?

  • Your first appointment is centered around talking with the psychologist about your areas of concern. Therefore, you will be asked to do the following:
    • Provide information about your child’s history.
    • Including medical, developmental, academic, attention, behavior, motor, and social history.
    • Inform the psychologist of any current, or past, services your child receives, such as:
      • speech-language therapy
      • occupational therapy
      • physical therapy
      • individual therapy
      • academic tutoring

What to bring to the neuropsychological intake:

  • You and your child
  • Completed intake paperwork
  • Similarly, any prior psychological/neuropsychological evaluation (if applicable)
  • Your child’s most recent 504 Plan or IEP (if applicable)
  • Additionally, any recent private intervention evaluation (e.g., speech-language therapy, occupational therapy)
  • Certainly, don’t forget your child’s most recent report card or standardized exam scores
  • Finally, any relevant medical information (e.g., EEG report, CT/MRI scan report)

Lastly, after the intake, you will schedule the testing session for your child.  Most of the time, testing is completed in one day (5 hours of testing). Occasionally, the testing will be completed over two days.  The psychologist will create a neuropsychological battery based on the areas of concern. However, the battery is subject to adjustment on the day of testing.  Typically, this occurs if another area of concern arises during the testing session.

To sum up, a pediatric neuropsychological evaluation can also help to determine any appropriate therapies such as speech or Applied Behavior Analysis. For more FAQ, click here

 

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonDeerfieldLincolnwoodGlenviewLake BluffDes Plaines and Mequon! If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (866) 815-6592 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!

 

Epilepsy brain

Diagnosing and Treating Epilepsy

 

 

Epilepsy is diagnosed when the child experiences two or more seizures with no known cause (e.g. no significant illness, no known fever, or no known physical hit to the head).  Epilepsy is fairly common and it is estimated that 1 in 26 individuals will develop epilepsy over their lifetime (Epilepsy Foundation of America, 2014).

Seizure activity is typically identified by characteristics of an electroencephalogram (EEG).  An EEG is when the individual has several electrodes placed on their head which measures electrical activity.  Seizures are identified by having sudden changes in electrical activity in either the entire brain or specific regions.

There are two main types of seizures with several subtypes underneath them.  Generalized seizures are when there are abnormal
findings on an EEG in all parts of the brain at the same time.  Children who exhibit generalized seizures will lose consciousness.  Partial seizures are when there is limited EEG findings to only one single area in the brain.  Children with partial seizures typically do not lose consciousness.

Epilepsy brainThe usual front line treatment of epilepsy is pharmacological intervention.  Some children do not respond to the anti-epileptic medications and may require surgery to help address seizure activity.

There are numerous cognitive and academic concerns associated with epilepsy.  There is some indication that IQ can be effected by seizure activity.  It is hard to classify specifically what effect there might be with IQ as research has indicated that seizure location as well as age of onset of seizure activity have a major impact on changes in IQ.  Studies have indicated that memory, attention, and executive functioning are often impacted by seizures.  Research has also indicated that children with epilepsy have a much higher rate of special education services for learning issues in the school setting.

It is important that if a child has epilepsy, a comprehensive evaluation be conducted in order to monitor IQ, academic achievement, attention, executive functioning, and memory in order to ensure that he or she is receiving the most efficacious interventions in the classroom setting.
Yeates, Ris, Taylor, & Pennington (2010), Pediatric Neuropsychology: research, theory, and practice

Hunter & Donders (2007), Pediatric Neuropsychology Intervention