Pediatric neuropsychologists are licensed psychologists. They have training in both clinical psychology and neuropsychology. They have special training in how the brain develops. They use this training to evaluate and help manage children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Such disorders may involve brain injury, medical disease, or developmental problems such as Autism or ADHD. Pediatric neuropsychologists help parents, teachers, and physicians to:
Understand how problems with the brain may relate to problems seen at school, home, or with peers
Understand how a child learns best
Understand why a child may have behavior problems
Help a child deal with thinking or behavior problems
Identify neurological or psychiatric problems
Help establish reasonable expectations to a child’s functioning
Work with other doctors and teachers to develop the best treatment and school plan for a child
Pediatric neuropsychologists and psychologists often use some of the same tests. However, psychoeducational evaluations focus on deciding if a child has a problem with academic skills such as reading, spelling, or math. Pediatric neuropsychologists focus on understanding why a child is having problems in school or at home. This is done by examining academic skills, but also examining all of the thinking skills needed to perform well in and outside of school – skills like memory, attention, and problem-solving. Understanding a child’s specific thinking strengths and weaknesses helps to better focus school plans and medical treatment and understand potential areas of future difficulty. Because neuropsychologists have training in clinical psychology, they are also able to diagnosis emotional problems like depression and anxiety.
Not every child who undergoes a neuropsychological evaluation will receive a diagnosis. Many children present for an evaluation, however, because they are struggling in certain areas. If a child meets criteria for a diagnosis, the doctor will provide one. It is not about labeling the child, rather it is about using that diagnostic concept to determine the treatment plan. We rely on research to tell us what types of therapies and interventions work for what kinds of problems. Having a label for a certain type of problem points us in the right directions and helps make sure our treatment plans will be effective for the individual child.
We are typically able to complete testing in one day. Your child will work one-on-one in a quiet, distraction free room, and be provided breaks as needed. If your child becomes fatigued and/or is unable to complete testing on the scheduled day, we will schedule a second session to complete testing.