Child & Adolescent Evaluations
We provide comprehensive neuropsychological and psychoeducational evaluations for children 6 years of age and older. Evaluations can be done through the NYC Department of Education or self-referral to our practice. If you desire to have your child evaluated through the Department of Education, just indicated in your request that you would prefer the evaluation be done by our practice.
Neuropsychological and psychoeducational evaluations can be requested for a number of reasons. For example, to determine if your child has a learning disability, ADHD, or other disorder affecting development, learning, and day-to-day functioning. Once a diagnosis is made, the next step would be helping with treatment planning if required, and recommending home and school-based interventions and accommodations. Evaluations are also common for teenagers and young adults in order to determine if accommodations are needed for standardized testing, such as the SATs, LSATs and GMATs, or in the workplace. Evaluations can also be used for court order or legal purposes, child custody, disability, and immigration procedures.
Whether the referral is for clinical purposes, school-based interventions or accommodations, or forensic/legal reasons, neuropsychological, psycho-educational, and psychological evaluations can be helpful for diagnosing Intellectual Disability, Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Processing Deficits, Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, and other cognitive, developmental or psychological conditions that are interfering with or impacting a child's development, learning ability, day-to-day functioning and over all quality of life.
What is a Pediatric or Child Neuropsychologist?
Pediatric/Child neuropsychologists are licensed psychologists, who have training in both clinical psychology and neuropsychology. They have specialized training in brain development. They evaluate, diagnose, and help with developing treatment and management plans for children with brain disorders. Some examples of developmental or acquired childhood disorders include brain injury, medical disease, or developmental problems (e.g., intellectual and learning disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder). Pediatric neuropsychologists can help parents, teachers, and physicians to:
- Understand how problems with the brain may relate to problems seen at school, home, or with peers.
- Understand how a child learns best.
- Understand why a child may have behavior problems.
- Help a child deal with thinking or behavior problems.
- Identify neurologic or psychiatric problems.
- Help match expectations to a child’s specific strengths and weaknesses.
- Work with other doctors, health care professionals, and teachers to develop the best treatment and school plan for a child.
How do I know if my child needs or would benefit from a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation may help if your child has:
- A neurologic disorder such as spina bifida, hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizures), neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, or a brain tumor.
- A brain injury from a trauma to the head, stroke, lack of oxygen, or an infection.
- Other medical problems such as prematurity, diabetes, chronic heart or breathing problems, certain genetic disorders, or treatment for childhood cancer.
- Been exposed to lead, street drugs, or inhalants (carbon monoxide).
- Been exposed to alcohol, smoking, or certain drugs prior to birth.
- A developmental or school problem such as a learning disability, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or autism spectrum disorder/pervasive developmental disorder.
- Had an evaluation by a psychologist or the school, but the treatment following that evaluation has not helped.
Your physician may recommend a neuropsychological assessment to:
- Help make or confirm a diagnosis.
- Get a record of your child’s functioning before treatment with medicine or surgery.
- Record a change in your child after a medical treatment (with pre- and post-treatment testing).
- Record your child’s development treatments and expectations can be adjusted to your child’s needs.
What does a Neuropsychological Evaluation Involve?
A neuropsychological evaluation involves examining thinking (cognition), behavior, and social-emotional functioning. The evaluation uses standardized tests and procedures. Examiners work directly with your child. They also gather additional history from the parent/caregiver, teachers, and other doctors. Tests may be performed using paper and pencil or on a computer. Your child will be asked many questions and to solve different types of problems. Neuropsychological evaluations typically include tests that measure the following:
- Intelligence (IQ)
- Problem solving
- Planning and organization
- Attention and concentration
- Learning and memory
- Processing speed
- Academic skills (reading, writing, spelling, math)
- Visual perception
- Spatial thinking
- Fine motor abilities
- Depression and anxiety
- Aggression and impulsive behavior
- Social skills
How does a Neuropsychological Evaluation differ from a school (psycho-educational) evaluation?
Pediatric neuropsychologists and school psychologists often use some of the same tests. However, school evaluations focus on deciding if a child has a problem with academic skills such as reading, spelling, or math.
A neuropsychological evaluation often includes the evaluation of academic skills, but is more concerned with determining the underlying reason as to why a child is having problems in school or at home. Determining if there is an underlying brain condition not yet identified or confirming that a known brain disorder is the cause of the child's academic, behavioral, and/or social-emotional problems and identifying the pattern of cognitive strengths and weakness that the child has.
This is done by examining all of the thinking skills needed to perform well in and outside of school – skills like memory, attention, and problem-solving. Understanding a child’s specific thinking strengths and weaknesses helps to better focus school plans and medical treatment and understand potential areas of future difficulty. Because neuropsychologists have training in clinical psychology, they are also able to diagnosis emotional problems like depression and anxiety, if this is part of the clinical picture.
A psychoeducational evaluation typically involves an assessment of a child’s intellectual abilities, basic academic skills (reading, writing, spelling, mathematics), social functioning, and screening for childhood psychological disorders. The results of this type of evaluation can provide information about learning disabilities and psychological disorders that are impacting a child’s ability to learn and function at school and home. A psychoeducational evaluation is not as comprehensive as a neuropsychological evaluation.
A psychological evaluation is an examination of a child’s behavior, personality traits, and socio-emotional adjustment. This type of evaluation is often used for clarification of psychological diagnosis or to gain a comprehensive understanding of a child's emotional functioning in a specific context (e.g., within a family, at school) or overall.