Participating in a neuropsychological evaluation is typically a new experience for both parents and children. The following information is provided to help families anticipate what to expect the day of the appointment. Our goal is to help parents and children feel as comfortable as possible.
Prior to the Appointment
You will receive a welcome packet in the mail four to six weeks prior to the appointment. Please read through this information carefully and fill out the enclosed forms and questionnaires. If a teacher questionnaire is included, please give the form and return envelope to your child’s teacher and ask them to complete and mail the questionnaire as soon as possible.
How to Prepare Your Child
It is important for your child to get a good nights sleep the night before their appointment(s). Toddlers and younger children can be told they’re going to meet a new doctor, complete some puzzles, and play some “thinking games.” If your young child is scared of doctors or hospitals, it is okay to tell them they’re going to spend the day with a teacher. Older children and adolescents may be told they will spend their day completing different types of tests and talking with the doctor. Some tests are “brain teaser” types of tasks, while others are pen and paper tasks. Some tests may be fun, while others may be boring! If children ask, “Why do I have to do this?” you can explain to them these types of tests help identify what they do best, and what is harder for them. By identifying their strengths and weaknesses, we can best identify ways to support things that are tough for them, such as paying attention, organizing homework, etc.
Many children are nervous because they are worried they will be given a shot. Be sure to reassure your child they will not be given any shots.
If your child takes stimulant medication for ADHD or ADD, s/he may or may not be asked to take it the day of the evaluation, depending on the goal of the evaluation. If your child takes a non-stimulant medication for ADHD or ADD (i.e. Straterra) they should take it as usual the day of the evaluation.
The Day of the Appointment
Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the time of your scheduled appointment. Bring the following materials with you:
- A copy of your insurance card, if billing insurance
- Form of payment for co-pays, co-insurance, and/or deductibles
- Completed forms and questionnaires from welcome packet
- Any previous psychological and/or neuropsychological assessment reports, including testing conducted by the school
- Copies of your child’s IEP, if applicable
- Relevant medical records
- Activities to keep your child occupied at various times throughout the day, such as a book or Gameboy/DS Lite
Once you arrive, paperwork pertaining to informed consent, privacy, and fee schedule will be completed. Completed questionnaires and a copy of your insurance card must be received before the evaluation will begin.
The first step in the assessment process is a parent interview. The parent interview usually takes between 40 and 50 minutes. You will meet with the neuropsychologist and discuss your primary questions and concerns. You will be asked a variety of questions regarding your child’s functioning, both past and present. While you meet with the neuropsychologist, your child may begin testing with a psychometrist.
Once the interview is complete, the doctor will discuss the initial test plan with you, and begin working with your child. You will be asked to wait in the waiting area while your child participates in testing. A parent or guardian must remain on the premises at all times. Your child will be given short breaks as needed. An hour lunch break is taken around noon, at which time you and your child may choose to leave for lunch. Depending on the age of your child and the referral question(s), an additional one to three hours of testing will take place after lunch. If testing is unable to be completed in one day, a second appointment will be scheduled.
Once testing is completed, you and your child will be asked to take another break. The neuropsychologist will use this time to complete test scoring, and integrate all the information. A feedback session is then conducted. During this time, you will meet with Dr. Kelderman and/or Dr. Panora to discuss the results of the evaluation. Your questions will be addressed. If a diagnosis is given, this will be explained to you. You will have ample time to ask additional questions. Most importantly, you will be given specific recommendations regarding treatment planning and interventions targeting identified areas of concern. When appropriate, children are given feedback regarding their performance at a developmentally-appropriate level following the parent feedback session.
In some instances, assessments will be scheduled over the course of 2 appointments. During the first appointment, the completed paperwork will be submitted, and you will be asked to complete several questionnaires. Your child will complete some initial testing with a psychometrist. Depending on their age, they may be asked to complete a questionnaire. The parent interview may take place during that time, or it may take place during the second appointment. The neuropsychologist will complete testing with your child during the second appointment, and go over the results in the feedback session.
We may require more time to collect additional records, and/or review the test results and information. We may request your permission to interview your child’s teacher via telephone. In these instances, you will be given preliminary feedback regarding your child’s test results, and a second appointment for a comprehensive feedback session will be scheduled.
The Written Report
You will receive a detailed written report three to four weeks after the feedback session. This report outlines relevant background information, test results, and the overall conclusions of the evaluation. Recommendations are included in the report as well. Your referring physician will also receive a copy of the report. Families are generally encouraged to provide a copy of this report to the child’s school, to promote educator’s understanding of your child’s learning profile, and to assist in educational programming.
Testing Young Children
The ability of toddlers and preschoolers to participate in testing is variable and unpredictable. Testing sessions with young children last only as long as they are able to actively participate, and maintain adequate attention and effort. If they become fatigued and/or uncooperative, testing will be discontinued, and an additional session will be scheduled.
If you have any questions regarding the assessment process, please do not hesitate to contact the clinic.
Psychiatry Services - What to Expect
The first appointment you will have with Dr. Kershner is a Parent Interview. This is an hour appointment during which you will speak with Dr. Kershner about your concerns. Dr. Kershner will ask you questions about your child’s medical history, behavior, and personality. Dr. Kershner’s comprehensive and compassionate approach means you will have plenty of time to ask questions and discuss your child. Please do NOT bring your child to the this appointment. This will allow you to talk freely and devote all your attention to the conversation.
The second appointment is a Child Interview. Dr. Kershner will spend most of this hour with your child. If your child is young, Dr. Kershner may play games with him or her while talking about relevant concerns. If your child is an adolescent, the time may consistent of an individual interview. Dr. Kershner will ask your child about their feelings and experiences, in order to gain a better understanding of their perspective. Towards the end of this appointment, Dr. Kershner will meet with you to share her thoughts and provide treatment recommendations. If she thinks medication is warranted, she will discuss the options, anticipated benefits, and any potential side affects you should be aware of. You will have time at this point to ask questions. At the end of this appointment, you will schedule your next appointment, typically within a few weeks.
Follow-ups (sometimes called medication management appointments) are 30-minute appointments during which you and your child meet with Dr. Kershner to discuss their response to medication and progress. If your child responds well, your appointments may be several months apart. Some children require more frequent appointments, such as every 2 or 4 weeks. Many parents ask how long their child will be on medication. The length of time your child may take medication depends on numerous factors, such as the symptoms being treated, their response to other treatments, and their individual development.