Neuropsychology Posts

Neuropsychological Testing Day

Neuropsychological Testing Day at NSPT

We’ve put together a brief guide to what the day of a pediatric neuropsychological evaluation looks like at NSPT. Below you will find important details from what to bring to how to prepare. As always, if you have any questions simply get in touch.

What does the testing day look like?

  • The testing lasts approximately 4-5 hours.
  • Parents submit the parent and teacher rating scales that are provided during the intake.
  • Each testing battery is individually designed by the doctor based on your child’s specific needs.
  • Testing tasks include answering questions about various topics and requiring different skills including vocabulary, similarities between words, math, doing paper and pencil work, and doing work on a computer.
  • Lunch, snack, bathroom, and other breaks are given when needed, as well as at regularly planned intervals.
  • Note: Testing results are not available on the testing day, rather provided during the feedback appointment.

What to Bring on the Day of Testing:

  • Plenty of snacks and lunch
  • Rating forms and any paperwork that still needed to be completed
  • Any prior evaluations that were not brought to the intake

After testing is complete, you will return for a one-hour feedback session approximately two weeks later with the psychologist to review the testing data, any diagnoses determined based on your child’s profile, recommendations for home and school, and any intervention services to foster your child’s development.

How can I prepare for the evaluation day?

  • Please bring snacks and a lunch for your child.
  • Complete the parent/teacher rating scales that were provided during the intake.
  • If your child is under 4 years of age or not potty trained, we will ask you to stay in the clinic for the duration of the testing.

Q&A

Q: What if my child is sick the day of testing?
A: The appointment will need to be rescheduled as we want your child to test at optimal levels. Please contact us as soon as possible.

Q: Should my child take his or her regular medication(s) on the day of testing?
A: Yes, unless otherwise instructed.

Q; Should my child wear his or her glasses?
A: Yes.

What happens at the feedback appointment?

  • This is a parent-only session.
  • You will be given an explanation of your child’s testing results and, if warranted, a diagnosis. At this time, your doctor will identify the most appropriate interventions and accommodations for your child for the home and school settings.
  • A final copy of your child’s report will be mailed to you within two weeks of your feedback appointment. Should you need the report sooner, please let your doctor know and we will do our best to accommodate you.
  • Note: You will not receive a final report during the feedback appointment, because your doctor may need to add additional information from the feedback session to the report.
  • With parental consent, a copy will be sent to your child’s pediatrician.
  • We do not share reports with schools. Should you choose to share it, you will need to provide a copy to the school.

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Reasons to Seek a Neuropsychological Evaluation for Your Child

Neuropsychology is a field of psychology that focuses on the relationship between learning, behavior, and brain functioning. A child may be referred for a Blog-Neuropsychological-Evaluation-Main-Landscapeneuropsychological evaluation when there are concerns about one or more areas of their development. This can include a child’s cognitive, academic, memory, language, social, self-regulatory, emotional, behavioral, motor, visual-spatial, and adaptive functioning.

This type of evaluation can help rule out diagnoses such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Specific Learning Disorder, Language Disorder, as well as various emotional and behavioral disorders. A neuropsychological evaluation can also be helpful if your child has been diagnosed with a medical condition such as Down Syndrome or other genetic disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, or Epilepsy. The purpose of the evaluation is to identify a child’s patterns of strengths and challenges in order to provide parents, schools, and other providers with strategies to help them succeed across contexts. It can also be used to track a child’s progress and response to targeted interventions.

In order to assess whether a neuropsychological evaluation may be helpful for a child, a family may identify concerns in the following areas:

  • Cognitive
    • Difficulties with verbal and nonverbal reasoning and problem solving
    • Requiring a significant amount of repetition and/or additional time when learning
    • Delays in adaptive functioning
  • Academic
    • Grades below peers
    • Concerns with reading (phonetic development, fluency, comprehension), mathematics (calculation, word problems), or writing (spelling, content, organization)
    • Needing additional time to complete schoolwork, homework, or tests
    • Frustration with academic work
  • Language
    • Expressive (output of language) or receptive (understanding of language) difficulties
    • Challenges initiating or maintaining a conversation
    • Difficulties with sarcasm or non-literal language (e.g, “It’s raining cats and dogs”)
    • Repetitive or odd language usage (e.g., repeating lengthy scripts heard from television or news programs)
    • Pronoun reversals or odd use of language
  • Self-Regulation
    • Difficulty paying attention or sitting still
    • Needing frequent prompts or reminders to complete tasks
    • Difficulty with multiple-step commands
    • Losing or misplacing items
    • Forgetting to turn in completed assignments
  • Social
    • Poor peer relations
    • Inappropriate response when approached by peers
    • Difficulty with imaginative, functional, or reciprocal play
    • Limited interest in peers or preference for solitary play
  • Repetitive Behaviors
    • Repetitive vocalizations
    • Repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand flapping, finger flicking, body rocking)
    • Lining up toys, spinning wheels of cars, sorting objects for prolonged periods of time
  • Behavioral Dysregulation
    • Physical or verbal aggression
    • Defiance or non-compliance
    • Difficulties with transitions or changes in routine
    • Self-injury (e.g., head banging)
  • Emotional
    • Poor frustration tolerance
    • Irritability or easily upset
    • Eating or sleeping difficulties
    • Somatic complaints
    • Negative self-statements
    • Lack of interest in things he/she used to enjoy
  • Visual-Spatial, Visual-Motor, and Motor
    • Poor handwriting
    • Trouble with fine motor tasks (e.g., unwrapping small items, buttoning or zipping clothing, tying shoe laces)
    • Difficulty transferring information from the classroom board to a notepad, or transferring information from a test booklet to a scantron/bubble sheet
    • Difficulty with overwhelming visual displays (e.g., computer screen with several icons; homework with several problems on one sheet; a book with several colors and pictures)

Should a child demonstrate difficulties in some of the areas listed above, he/she may benefit from further consultation or a subsequent neuropsychological evaluation. Through this process, areas of difficulty can be identified, and targeted interventions will be suggested to enhance a child’s development.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

how to talk to your child about neuropsychological testing

What Should I Tell My Child About Neuropsychological Testing?

One question that I have parents asking me all the time about coming in for testing is this: “What do I tell my child?” There really is no universal answer to this question.  The answer has to be based upon what the child can handle.  How old is the child? What is the child’s cognitive functioning? Just to name a couple…

The goal is to speak to the child at a level that he or she can understand.  It is important to not lie or cover up the reasons for the visit.  Many times parents attend an intake session because of concerns regarding the child’s academic performance.  It is important to be upfront with the child.  Children areWhat to tell a child about Neuropsychological testing quite intuitive and know a lot more than we often give them credit for.   I would first have parents ask the child general questions (it is important to do this, even if they already know the answers since this serves to prime the child’s memory):  any combination of the below questions might serve to help guide the child.

Questions to Ask Your Child Before a Neuropsychology Evaluation:

  • “Do you like going to school?”
  • “What is hard about school?”
  • “Are you happy with your grades?”
  • “Is it hard to listen and pay attention to the teacher?”
  • “Does it bother you to have to play alone?”

Once the child admits to one or more of the questions, it is then appropriate to explain that the purpose of testing or therapy is to help address the specific issues and make school more enjoyable.

After the child understands the purpose for the testing or therapy, it is always important to explain to him or her what the actual session will look like.  I always advise parents to ask the individual that will be working with your child lots of questions.  Find out who will be doing the work, where will the work take place, how long would the child be there, are there breaks available, and what will the child actually be doing.  The goal is that the child will be ready for testing or therapy and have a basic idea of what to expect.

Click here for a guide to understanding Neuropsychological Test Results. 


Neuropsychology testing IL

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

What to Expect After Neuropsychological Testing

The process of going through a neuropsychological evaluation can be tiring and time consuming.  This process is long-starting fromWhat to expect from neuropsychological testing concerns brought up by the teacher, sharing the information with the pediatrician, getting a referral, meeting with the neuropsychologist, having the child participate in the comprehensive evaluation, and meeting at the end for feedback.  This process may take weeks or months to fully complete.

It is important to understand that the neuropsychological evaluation is really the start of the process.

The focus of the evaluation is to provide information and diagnostic clarification about what is going on with a child’s behavior or learning.  Once the evaluation is completed, the entire process of help and change begins. Read more

How Can a Neuropsychological Evaluation Help My Child?

A neuropsychological evaluation can help a child in multiple ways.  The focus of the evaluation is to provide information for parents about why a child is struggling with regards to his or her academic achievement, social engagement, and/or emotional regulation.  Parents will bring their children in for a neuropsychological evaluation when they have concerns about their performance in any of the above domains.

What is the goal of a neuropsychological evaluation?

The goal of the evaluation is to provide diagnostic clarification based upon a set of symptoms that the child exhibits.  This information is attained through the following ways:

  • Parental interview
  • Parental and teacher report
  • Behavioral observation Read more