A neuropsychology assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of cognitive and behavioral abilities using a set of standardized tests and procedures. The specific tests administered depend on the question(s) to be answered. Various areas of cognitive functioning can be systematically tested including intelligence, verbal and visual learning and memory, language, attention, processing speed, working memory, organization, problem-solving, reasoning, spatial awareness, academic skills, mood, and personality.
A neuropsychological assessment can offer individuals and their providers assistance with diagnostic clarification of complex and multifactorial components, characterizing the extent of cognitive and functional changes, describing one’s cognitive profile (e.g., strengths and weaknesses), determining a baseline of functioning, and tracking of changes over time. Individualized treatment recommendations are tailored to meet the unique & evolving needs of patients and families.
The evaluation consists of a thorough clinical interview, during which the patient and family members have the opportunity to share their clinical concerns, followed by testing that can last between 2-6 hours.
The testing involves a variety of tasks, each designed to measure a different aspect of thinking. Depending on the ability being measured, the nature of the task will change. For example, memory can be measured by listening to stories and then repeating them, or by looking at pictures and identifying them later. Problem solving can be measured by putting puzzles together or solving verbal analogies. Some of the tasks are computer based, some require writing, and some involve listening and speaking. A thorough emotional evaluation is also conducted.
The final appointment is the feedback session. This happens approximately two weeks after testing is completed. This is an opportunity to discuss the test results, diagnosis, and, most importantly, recommendations for improving the clinical concern. Topics often include discussion of possible lifestyle modifications, implementing accommodations or cognitive strategies, maximizing quality of life, and treatment and supportive services. We encourage patients to invite family and other trusted individuals to this appointment.
The patient and referring provider will be sent a comprehensive neuropsychological report that includes a summary of relevant background information, assessment results, a summary of findings, and individualized recommendations tailored to the patient’s strengths and weaknesses.