What is a neuropsychological evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation involves the use of paper and pencil, oral, and computerized tools to determine your cognitive functioning in several areas, including general intellectual functioning, ability to focus and pay attention to tasks, learning and memory skills, language and executive functions, academic functioning (when applicable), as well as behavioral and emotional functioning. A comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation is typically used to assess your pattern of strengths and weaknesses to determine the causes of any difficulties present and, ultimately, to develop targeted treatment and intervention strategies
How does a neuropsychological evaluation differ from a psychoeducational, neurological, and/or psychological evaluation?
A neurological evaluation generally assesses and individual’s basic mental, motor and sensory functions to determine abnormal functioning in these areas, including gross deficits in cognitive functioning. A psychological evaluation provides in depth analysis of an individual’s social-emotional and personality functioning for diagnostic clarification and to inform treatment. A psychoeducational evaluation is generally an assessment of cognitive and educational skills focused on measuring ability and achievement discrepancies to diagnose specific learning deficits requiring academic remediation (such as special education services) and academic accommodations.
Unlike these evaluations, a neuropsychological assessment provides a comprehensive and detailed overview of an individual’s neurocognitive and emotional functioning using in depth and standardized tests. Results are not only compared to normative guidelines of individuals in your age group, but also to your own performance in other areas to determine relative strengths and weaknesses for diagnostic and treatment planning/remediation purposes. A neuropsychological evaluation uses information from neuroscience research into brain/behavior relationships to answer questions about the processes underlying your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in order to provide targeted interventions and treatment.
Do I need a neuropsychological evaluation?
You likely need a neuropsychological evaluation if you exhibit difficulties in cognitive, emotional, behavioral and/or academic areas to the point of negatively affecting your performance and overall well-being. A neuropsychological evaluation is particularly warranted if you continue to show difficulties despite treatments or remedial efforts.
How long will the evaluation take?
Comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations take approximately 5 to 7 hours and are typically scheduled for 3 hour blocks over 1 day or 2 separate days. However, there is some variability in this scheduling depending on the reason for the referral as well as your specific needs. Dr. Bronk utilizes a hypothesis driven approach to the neuropsychological test battery. It is important to remember that it is frequently not the number of tests or hours that make an evaluation comprehensive, but the specific tests that are sensitive in identifying problems in various aspects of cognitive functioning. In general, your test results will be reviewed with you and a final report will be prepared.
What should I know about and expect on the day of testing?
You can expect to spend 2 to 3 hours over several sessions working with Dr. Bronk on a number of activities including drawing, puzzle-like tasks, answering questions, completing school related activities (e.g., reading, math problems), and filling out questionnaires. Most individuals find the majority of the tasks interesting and challenging, although a few may be boring or difficult.
You will be given breaks when necessary to minimize fatigue and facilitate comfort. It is important to remember that you are not expected to ‘pass’ any tests but, rather, will be asked to do your best so that Dr. Bronk can have a better understanding of how you think and learn. Please ask Dr. Bronk for more specific guidelines if necessary.
What should I bring with me to the appointment?
Please bring all of the completed forms that have been mailed home to you with your confirmation letter packet. Also bring with you any relevant records that may be helpful in our evaluation. These may include previous testing reports, educational records (including progress reports and report cards, if relevant), and any related medical records. Also, please make sure that you come dressed comfortably. You may also bring snacks with you if you feel you will need them during breaks.
Should I take my medication(s) on the day of testing?
Check with Dr. Bronk prior to your testing session to determine whether you should take your medication(s) on the day of testing. Most often, Dr. Bronk will ask you to take prescribed medications, but occasionally this may not be optimal. Since some medications affect your cognitive functioning, it is important that Dr. Bronk is aware of the medications you are taking and also know of any changes in your medication from session to session.
How many sessions will be necessary?
A psychological evaluation takes place typically in one session. A neuropsychological evaluation may include 2 or 3 sessions. Sometimes more, shorter sessions are required, depending on the individual’s ability to tolerate long testing sessions, and the nature of the referral questions.
What happens after the evaluation is completed?
A feedback session is scheduled following the completion of the evaluation to go over all of your testing results with you. Following this feedback session, you will receive a written report that summarizes all of the test results, our interpretation, and recommendations.
What will be done to protect my privacy?
NDH is dedicated to protecting your privacy and take great care in protecting sensitive information. NDH will release reports to other parties (such as your school/employer or other clinician) only after obtaining your permission. Please note an exception to our privacy efforts in the rare cases where Dr. Bronk feels that you or someone else is in danger. Psychologists are mandated by law to report to appropriate agencies if they suspect that an individual (especially a minor) shows evidence of abuse, is in danger of imminent physical injury to himself or to others, and in response to subpoenas, court order, or other legal proceedings or statutes requiring disclosure. Please ask Dr. Bronk if you have any specific questions or concerns.
Will my health insurance cover the cost of the evaluation?
NDH does not have a billing department. Therefore, NDH does not bill your insurance directly. At your request, NDH will provide you with a superbill that contains all of the information necessary (including diagnosis, dates of service and type of service rendered) for you to submit to your health insurance provider to seek reimbursement for any payments made. It is your responsibility to check with your carrier to see if there are specific guidelines or necessary authorization prior to the evaluation.
How frequently should a neuropsychological evaluation be performed?
In general, your neuropsychological evaluation results will be helpful for several years. NDH recommend updates approximately every three years (as long as they are needed), although a comprehensive evaluation may not be necessary. Brief evaluations may also be recommended sooner to assess the effects of recommended interventions.