What is Neuropsychology?
Clinical neuropsychologists are specialists who focus on the relationship between the brain and behavior. They use standardized tests to provide objective information regarding an individual’s cognitive and emotional functioning. A neuropsychological assessment is one method of diagnosing acquired disorders of the brain (such as traumatic brain injury), as well as neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders. Many factors can effect cognitive and emotional health including:
- Stress and worry
- Chronic illness
- Traumatic brain injury
- Autoimmune diseases
- Infectious diseases
- Mental illness
- Certain medications
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Seizure disorders
- Cancer and related treatment
“Neuropsychologists work with, assess, and provide treatment for individuals who have experienced changes in function or damage to the brain as a result of injury or illness.”
When to refer for a Neuropsychological Assessment
A neuropsychological assessment is recommended when an individual is experiencing changes in their cognitive or thinking skills or changes in their behavior. This could include difficulty focusing on tasks, forgetting information, trouble organizing or planning activities, difficulty following directions or getting lost, trouble coming up with words or understanding what others are saying, or difficulty completing tasks due to cognitive concerns. These difficulties could be due to a number of medical, neurological, psychological, or genetic causes. An assessment will help understand your unique situation.
Cognitive Baseline Assessment
The purpose of this type of assessment is to provide a baseline measurement of one’s cognitive functioning and to screen for possible impairment. This assessment is appropriate for people who do not have concerns or obvious symptoms regarding their memory and thinking abilities. The areas assessed include:
- Learning and Memory
- Attention and Concentration
- Speed of Information Processing
- Visuospatial Skills
- Executive Functioning
These results can be used to:
- provide a reference for the possibility of a future brain injury or illness,
- track any changes over time,
- detect early changes associated with medical conditions, including dementia
- identify areas that may be targeted for improvement.
The assessment includes:
- An interview with the neuropsychologist
- Formal testing by a qualified psychometrist
- A written summary report of the results
- A 30 minute feedback session with the neuropsychologist to discuss the findings.
Neuropsychological Baseline Assessment (3 hours)
- Baseline neuropsychological evaluation refers to the completion of preseason neuropsychological testing to establish a personal standard of cognitive performance. Baseline assessments are useful because of the range of performance and ability within a given population. Establishing a benchmark of cognitive performance for comparison in the event of a future concussion enables the neuropsychologist to comment directly on the presence or absence of cognitive impairment, relative to a player’s established baseline.
Neuropsychological Consult (90 minutes)
- This consult involves an interview focusing on your personal history and current difficulties. This is followed by a brief testing session wherein you will complete several paper and pencil tasks to screen for objective difficulties in the major cognitive domains: attention, information processing speed, language skills, executive functioning, and memory. You will also be asked to complete questionnaires regarding your current symptoms and mood.
Neuropsychological Screening Evaluation (3 hours)
- This assessment involves a brief interview focusing on your personal history. This is followed by a testing session wherein you will complete several paper and pencil tasks evaluating memory, attention, and other thinking abilities. You will also be asked to complete questionnaires regarding any current symptoms and your mood. This type of assessment is more in-depth than the initial consult, but less comprehensive than a full neuropsychological assessment.
Neuropsychological Assessment (6-8 hours)
- This assessment involves an interview focusing on your personal history and current difficulties. This is followed by a testing session wherein you will complete a number of paper and pencil tasks evaluating memory, attention, and other thinking abilities. You will also be asked to complete several questionnaires regarding your current symptoms, mood, and personality characteristics.
Independent Medical Evaluation Available (please contact us)
What you can Expect
Sport Neuropsychology evaluations typically involves an interview focusing on personal history and current difficulties.
This is followed by a testing session, wherein brain function is evaluated by means of performance on a variety of paper and pencil tasks evaluating cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, processing speed, and other thinking abilities. Evaluation of mood and personality is also completed.
Upon completion of a neuropsychological evaluation, the neuropsychologist will make conclusions regarding the presence or absence of brain dysfunction, the level of cognitive impairment, and the associated impact on daily cognitive, emotional, and psychological functioning.
What does a Neuropsychological Assessment involve?
A neuropsychological assessment involves an interview and completion of standardized tests designed to evaluate cognitive and emotional functioning. The neuropsychologist may also request to interview the client’s family, review medical records, and other available information in order to gain a good understanding of the client’s background and concerns. The length of the assessment can vary depending on the reason for the assessment. A wide variety of tests are administered. The cognitive domains assessed by a neuropsychologist include;
- General intellect
- Academic skills (e.g. reading, writing)
- Attention and concentration
- Learning and memory
- Language skills
- Visual and spatial skills
- Thinking speed and efficiency
- Problem solving
- Abstract thinking
- Sensory and motor skills
- Mood and personality
Typically, we also arrange a meeting to discuss the results of the evaluation and review treatment recommendations.