Why have my child evaluated?

The decision to have your child or adolescent evaluated can be a difficult one for parents to make. Parents wonder if their child is just going through a phase or if their child is developing at a slower pace and will catch up eventually. Parents may be frustrated by what their child’s teacher perceives as “laziness.”  What may resemble “laziness” or indifference may actually indicate the presence of subtle brain dysfunctions which can be developmental in nature. Often time passes and the child or adolescent has not outgrown the behaviors or the academic problems that were worrisome.   Parents then decide to have their child evaluated.  Here are some of the more common reasons to pursue an evaluation:

Independent Evaluation

An independent evaluation to help with school and/or treatment planning will pinpoint the specific strengths and challenges affecting a student’s learning. By deeply understanding how students learn, we can provide strategies and support to improve academic performance, increase self-confidence and develop success in school and in life.

Transition planning for middle/high school, college or graduate school

Many high-achieving students find themselves struggling for the first time in middle or high school, college, medical school, other graduate or professional programs, or even early in their careers. Some have successfully managed earlier challenges, but find that they need new strategies to cope with the more demanding workload of higher education or the workplace.  To qualify for accommodations, most colleges and universities require a comprehensive evaluation that samples the domains of a neuropsychological evaluation. Dr. Bronk will work to pinpoint the source of a student’s difficulties, identify their strengths, and provide strategies and support to help their success.

My child has already been diagnosed

It is well-known that children with an autism spectrum disorder often receive several misdiagnoses before being correctly diagnosed. Most neurodevelopmental problems (reading disorders, learning disorders, attention deficit disorder etc.) have symptom overlap. For example, the inability to sustain one’s attention to a boring task is a symptom of many neurodevelopmental problems not just ADHD. Without taking a thorough history and systematically sampling multiple domains, your child might receive a misdiagnosis. A neuropsychologist is trained to understand the correct questions to ask and tasks to give to arrive at the best diagnostic formulation.  Dr. Bronk integrates the findings from neurocognitive domains assessed, to arrive at an understanding of the brain behavior relationship and the impact on academic, behavioral, and life skills performance.

Parents of children with a mild autism spectrum disorder may be puzzled by the fact that their child appears to be so smart and competent academically, yet struggles in school. Children with a mild autism spectrum disorder may experience subtle learning issues or difficulty with those behaviors that support academic success (organization, planning, remembering, problem-solving, initiation, focus, and/or social skills).  These behaviors, which are referred to as executive function skills may be weak for students with an autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, or learning disability.  It is the role of the neuropsychologist to understand how problems in executive functioning interact with other weaknesses or deficits to impede academic and life success.

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