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What is Neuropsychological Testing?

Neuropsychological Testing is an in-depth evaluation and data driven assessment of a patient’s brain function and how it effects and presents in a patient’s life. This process is completed through a clinical interview, in depth medical and scholastic records review, and a patient specific battery of tests that are then scored and assessed by the Clinical Neuropsychologist.

Typically, patients are referred for Neuropsychological Testing for one of the following reasons:

  • Assessment of Cognitive Functioning

  • Diagnostic Clarification

  • Treatment Planning Purposes

Cognitive Assessment

  • Sometimes referred to as intelligence testing or IQ.  A Cognitive Assessment is an evaluation of a patients thinking, processing and reasoning.

  • This type of assessment can be broken down into more specific categories such as:

    • Verbal Comprehension

    • Perceptual Reasoning

    • Working Memory

    • Processing Speed

    • Attention

    • Decision Making and Judgement

  • What information can be gained from this type of evaluation?

    • More accurate data in regards to a patients overall IQ

    • Identification of a patient’s learning difficulties and/or cognitive impairment

    • Identification of a patient’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses

    • Recommendations for learning strategies

  • Testing can also provide elaboration and clarification of a patients suspected or diagnosed:

    • Learning Disabilities

    • ADHD

    • Autism

    • Intellectual Giftedness or Disability

Diagnostic Clarification

  • Patients can be referred for Neuropsychological Testing to clarify a suspected diagnosis and provide recommendations for treatment.

  • The battery of tests chosen to be administered to a patient is carefully chosen and is specific to that patient. 

  • The Neuropsychological Tester uses the testing data to assist a provider in distinguishing psychological contributions that are limiting an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

  • This type of assessment can help sort through and identify multiple or layered psychiatric disorders that may be more difficult to identify and isolate due to additional factors such as:

    • Underlying medical conditions

    • Environmental Stressors

    • Undiagnosed Cognitive Impairment

    • Substance Abuse

Treatment Planning

  • When known or suspected neurocognitive impairments are having or have the potential to impact a patient’s treatment outcome, a referral for neuropsychological testing can be done.

  • Characterization of adaptive strengths and weaknesses.

  • A thorough neuropsychological examination can provide a broad description of the patient’s capacities and deficits and the impact of these resources and limitations on the patient’s adaptation to the world. This profile is essential for effective treatment planning.

  • In some cases, neuropsychological testing can be done sequentially to track changes over time. This can give providers unique insights into the effectiveness of their treatments thus allowing them to more effectively make changes to improve the prognosis.

  • Providers may order neuropsychological testing in an effort to identify novel treatment approaches that would otherwise not be considered.