Clinical Neuropsychological Assessment

Clinical Neuropsychological Evaluation

After suffering from an injury or illness that affects the brain, people may be referred by their doctors for a neuropsychological evaluation or neuropsychological assessment. Common injuries which result in a neuropsychological referral include traumatic brain injury, concussion, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative conditions. For older populations, a neuropsychological evaluation is also useful in distinguishing normal age-related changes in cognitive functioning versus early dementia processes.

Although most people have heard of a “psych evaluation” (usually through a TV or movie portrayal), understanding is often limited and dramatized versions in media can cause misconceptions about the actual evaluation process.

To help our patients better understand our neuropsychological evaluation process, we’ve compiled some general guidelines and commonly asked questions.

What is a neuropsychological evaluation?

Neuropsychological evalution often includes at least three components, including:

  • A review of your medical and other records
  • An interview with you and/or another person who knows you well (such as a family member, close friend, or caregiver)
  • Administration of Norm-Referenced Tests that measure your abilities and mood. These tests are specifically designed to quantify individual ability levels across aspects of cognition (e.g., verbal memory, attention processes, language functioning, speed of thinking, abstraction), functional difficulties (e.g., being able to complete day to day tasks), and will capture the frequency and severity of concerning psychiatric symptoms.

Using these three sources of information, a neuropsychologist will provide you with a comprehensive report that summarizes relevant medical history, your evaluation results, areas where your cognitive or emotional functioning has changed, and will make recommendations for work, home, and family. Importantly, a neuropsychological evaluation will be useful providing diagnostic guidance for your treatment team.

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