Often, an evaluation is requested by a physician or specialist to help localize possible areas of brain damage or dysfunction and/or to clarify a differential diagnosis. An evaluation also might be requested to help monitor for any changes in cognitive abilities, behaviors, and emotional functioning over time. The information obtained from the evaluation can provide important information and recommendations to the client and family members, as well as to doctors, therapists, or other specialists working with the individual.
Key areas examined in a neuropsychological evaluation often include:
- Intellectual reasoning capacity, or IQ
- Executive functioning (skills like planning, organizing, problem-solving, etc.)
- Concentration and attentional capacity
- Language abilities
- Visual-perceptual and spatial abilities
- Memory abilities
- Sensory/perceptual and motor abilities
- Social and emotional functioning
- Academic skills (although, these are typically assessed only if there is a specific questions of a possible learning disorder)
In some cases, individuals have experienced challenges that have been difficult to sort out since childhood. It is not uncommon, for example, to meet with clients who have consulted with many doctors, specialists, therapists, and/or school personnel over the years and still not have a clear understanding of their issues. Neuropsychologists synthesize information from a variety of sources, including cognitive/behavioral test data, structured assessment of social and emotional functioning, as well as collateral report from family members, teachers, or others who know the client well to help provide some clarity and guidance around these issues.
Common reasons why a student might seek out a neuropsychological evaluation often include any combination of these concerns:
- Struggling to pay attention in class
- Not following through or completing assignments
- Problems completing reading assignments because it takes too long or not understanding what was read
- Low frustration tolerance
- Taking too long to organize their thoughts
- Needing extra time for examinations
- Lack of motivation
- Declining grades in school
- Being easily distracted or finding that impulsive behaviors are interfering in completion of tasks
- Experiencing anxiety and/or depression related to school performance
- Disparity between grades in school and scores on standardized tests
- Experiencing particular difficulty with a subject, such as math, reading, writing.
Those who are frustrated by sub-optimal school performance often seek out a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation to (a) help clarify the cause(s) of their difficulties and (b) to obtain recommendations for academic accommodations when indicated. Assessment of academic skills (e.g., reading, writing, arithmetic) certainly is useful (and necessary) information, but it often is insufficient. There are any number of reasons why one might struggle in school. Sometimes an underlying reading disorder (e.g., dyslexia) represents the root cause of the difficulty. For others, their school problems might be circumscribed to math or there might be some issue related to poor motor control/speed or dysgraphia that interferes with academic success. Some students struggle primarily with attentional or executive functioning weaknesses, suggestive of a primary attentional syndrome, such as ADD/ADHD. Still others may encounter complicating psychosocial factors or co-occurring psychiatric disorders that disrupt several areas of daily life, including school performance. Thus, it is critical to understand the “whole picture” as much as possible to characterize the reason(s) underlying these struggles so as to best target recommendations that foster greater academic success and improvements in overall daily functioning.
With this in mind, Dr. Chasman accepts most major insurance plans, including:
Please note that health insurance companies do not cover the cost of any school-related, academic testing. If you choose to add these modules to your evaluation, the private pay out-of-pocket cost is $500.
- It is important that you eat before your evaluation appointment. It is strongly recommended that you bring snacks and/or a lunch, as the evaluation may last several hours.
- Bring a current list of your medications and their dosages.
- Please take your regularly prescribed medications, as scheduled. However, consult with your physician about optional medications that might cause drowsiness (like pain killers, anti-anxiety, allergy medications), as these can affect your test results.
- Bring your reading glasses or hearing aids.
- Bring a valid photo ID and health insurance card.
- Please arrive on time and allow for extra time for traffic, parking, and check-in. Late arrival may result in rescheduling your appointment.
On a separate date, you will then complete a number of computerized and paper/pencil tests that can last anywhere from between 2-6 hours. You will be tested alone in a quiet room. If you are accompanied by family members or friends, they will be asked to wait in the waiting room.