What is a neuropsychologist?
A neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist specializing in the area of brain-behavior relationships. Although a neuropsychologist has a doctoral degree in psychology, he or she does not just focus on emotional or psychological problems. The neuropsychologist has additional training in the specialty field of clinical neuropsychology. That means a neuropsychologist is educated in brain anatomy, brain function, and brain injury or disease. The neuropsychologist also has specialized training in administering and interpreting the specific kinds of tests included in a neuropsychological evaluation. As a part of the required education, a neuropsychologist also has years of practical experience working with people who have had problems involving the brain.
What is a neuropsychological evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation involves testing that is sensitive to problems in brain functioning. Unlike CT or MRI scans, which show what the structure of the brain looks like, neuropsychological testing examines how well the brain is working when it performs certain functions (for example, remembering). The types of tests that you will take depend upon the questions the patient and his/her doctor have. The tests may assess the following areas: attention and memory, reasoning and problem-solving, visual-spatial functions, language functions, sensory-perceptual functions, motor functions, academic skills, and emotional functioning. The tests are not invasive; that is, they do not involve attaching the patient to machines or using X-rays. Most of the tests will involve questions-and-answers, or working with materials on a table. Some tests may use a computer. The testing may be performed by the neuropsychologist or by a trained staff member. The neuropsychologist will also spend some time talking with you about your medical, personal, and school history. The total time involved in the evaluation will depend upon the questions the patient and his/her doctor have.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER THE EVALUATION?
Your neuropsychological evaluation report will be shared with you and with the doctor or healthcare provider who referred you to us. This report will contain a description of the tests you were given, your performances on these tests, and specific recommendations to guide your treatment or otherwise help you in your daily life. We encourage you to call us if you have any questions about the report and/or if you would like to set up face-to-face feedback. You will also have feedback with your referring provider, who in many cases has ordered additional tests and will want to talk with you about the results of all of the tests/procedures you have completed. If you have any questions, ask the neuropsychologist or his/her staff. We want to be sure that you understand the evaluation procedure and have all your questions answered.