Children’s Services

Our Center’s pediatric neuropsychologists—licensed psychologists with expertise in learning and behavior as they relate to brain structures and systems—are skilled in the evaluation and treatment of learning and developmental disabilities. Starting with the initial assessment through the entire course of treatment, we work with our patients, their families, and school personnel to conduct and implement the following evaluations and treatments.

Pediatric Neuropsychological Evaluations

The process of treating a new patient starts with a thorough assessment in order to make the correct diagnosis and develop the most effective therapies. Because everyone learns in different ways, our evaluations help us choose the strategies and services personalized to each patient’s individual needs. A neuropsychological evaluation differs from other psychological evaluations in that it gauges the functioning of the patient’s central nervous system to help the clinician discover the specific cognitive processes that may be impaired in each patient.

A neuropsychological evaluation typically consists of the following elements:

  • Interview with parents about the child’s history
  • Interview with child
  • Individual testing (which involves having the child perform paper-and-pencil and hands-on activities, answer questions, and sometimes use a computer)
  • A questionnaire to be completed by the parents about their child's development and behavior

A neuropsychological evaluation assesses the following areas:

  • Attention and concentration
  • Full Scale IQ
  • Speech and language
  • Phonological and audiological functioning
  • Verbal and visual memory
  • Visual motor integration
  • Executive functioning skills (such as planning, attention, and inhibition)
  • Fine motor functioning
  • Intellectual ability
  • Academic skills
  • Emotional functioning
  • Interpersonal functioning

Parents are usually not in the room during testing (but may be present with very young children). The time required depends on the child's age and the nature of the issue(s) at hand. Because we are a teaching hospital, there is opportunity to have your child assessed by one of the residents or fellows for a reduced fee. The residents and fellows are closely supervised by a licensed pediatric neuropsychologist.

To augment information obtained during the formal evaluation, our Center’s staff conducts classroom observations to evaluate the fit between a child’s cognitive, behavioral, and social-emotional skills and his or her learning environment. During this time we will assess the child’s peer group and social interactions as well as consult with teachers and school-based support teams. Pediatric neuropsychologists may work closely with a physician to manage difficulties and frequently consult with schools to provide appropriate educational programming.

Before Your Evaluation

What you tell your child about the evaluation depends on how much he or she can understand. In general, it is best to indicate that these assessments will shed light on how to best educate them at home and at school. Before arriving for your child’s evaluation, please complete the following:

  • If your child wears glasses or a hearing aid, make sure to bring them
  • If your child has special language needs, please alert the neuropsychologist in advance
  • If your child is taking psychotropic medication, please inform the neuropsychologist beforehand to ask whether the medication should be taken on the day(s) of the assessment
  • If your child has had previous school testing, an individual education plan, or has related medical records, please bring those records with you to your appointment

After Your Evaluation

Following the assessment, our clinicians meet with parents to provide feedback in the form of a written report. This is an opportunity to discuss the test results and what they mean. Together, we formulate a remedial plan that will address the needs of the family as a whole. This plan could include:

  • A detailed summary of the results
  • An integrated way of thinking about the individual’s strengths and needs
  • Targeted recommendations to correct or accommodate cognitive and/or behavioral challenges
  • Concrete recommendations on how to advocate for your child
  • Recommendations and support for obtaining needed services
  • Attending all IEP and CSE meetings
  • Meeting with teachers and administrators to help explain report results
  • Working with educational advocates, if necessary, to devise a free and appropriate education plan