Focus of the Exam
A neuropsychological evaluation is comprised of a series of standardized tests that are designed to assess one’s cognitive or thinking skills (e.g., memory, attention, language, problem solving, motor skills, etc.). Emotional and behavioral symptoms are also assessed and interpreted within the context of one’s cognitive status. For those with a known or acquired neurological condition (e.g., traumatic brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, etc.), a neuropsychological evaluation can be quite informative and help assist with treatment planning. Determining the appropriate type of treatment and level of care can be challenging without a detailed assessment of one’s cognitive and emotional resources. Addressing issues related to independence is often a primary area of focus following an acquired neurological condition, such as returning to independent living, work, school, driving, etc. A neuropsychological evaluation is also useful for those who are experiencing cognitive symptoms (e.g., memory loss, word finding problems, inattention) and are seeking clarification regarding their symptoms. In these situations, test results are informative to the patient’s diagnostic workup. Additional areas of neuropsychological specialty include ImPACT testing for concussion and traumatic brain injury; baseline and pre-surgical testing; and legally-based evaluations, including Independent Neuropsychological Exams and Fitness for Duty.
You will initially meet with the doctor to discuss any relevant history that may contribute to the evaluation. You are welcome to bring a family member or close friend to the initial interview to provide information concerning your history and current symptoms. After the initial interview, you will work one-on-one with the examiner to complete a series of paper-and-pencil tests. Tests are typically brief in nature, but there are many. Some of the tests are administered verbally, some are in written format, and some are manually completed, such as motor tests. Some tests are also in questionnaire format. Tests vary in complexity and time, and you are expected to do better on some tests than others. The tests are typically adjusted for age and educational level so that an accurate assessment of your performance can be determined. You should plan to dress comfortably and bring snacks/drinks if you wish. The testing is completed at your pace and breaks can be taken as needed.
Follow-Up / Feedback
After the clinical exam is completed, you will be scheduled for a feedback appointment. During feedback, you will review test results with the doctor. It may be helpful to have a family memory or friend present since you may be presented with a lot of information. The feedback session should provide you with a better understanding as to the nature of your symptoms as they pertain to your neuropsychological functioning. How to modify or improve your neuropsychological status and optimize quality of life are discussed within the context of treatment-related issues and recommendations. Upon completion of the exam, a formal neuropsychological report will be sent to your referring doctor; this will include our test findings and treatment recommendations.
How Long is the Exam?
For clinical exams, sometimes the testing is completed in one day or multiple days, depending on the individual. This is typically determined at the time your appointment is scheduled, although modifications during the exam may be made as needed. Above all, we strive to provide you with a positive experience that is informative and useful.