A neuropsychological evaluation from Dr. Edward Petrosky provides clarity and guidance. It helps you and those who work with your child understand how to promote your child’s development.
Placeholder-Do Not Delete
This is here so we can start with all accordions closed.
Why get a neuropsychological evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation answers questions.
What’s holding my child back? What can move my child forward?
More specifically, parents who come to Dr. Petrosky for a neuropsychological assessment have questions such as:
- Why is my son or daughter having trouble in school? Making friends? Managing his or her emotions or behavior? What’s getting in the way?
- How can I challenge my child without overwhelming him or her?
- How can I promote my child’s development?
- What’s the diagnosis?
- Why is my child such an enigma?
- Is this just a normal part of growing up or does my child need some help?
- What’s my child feeling? Why does s/he behave this way?
- What can I do to improve my relationship with my child?
A neuropsychological evaluation is the type of assessment to get in order to find out if your child has a learning disability, such as dyslexia, ADD / ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or another type of learning, social, emotional, or behavioral challenges.
Neuropsychological assessments can play a crucial role in differential diagnosis Making a “differential diagnosis” is when a clinician determines which of several possible diagnoses the person has. This is particularly important because different conditions can look very similar on the surface. For example, poor attention and concentration can be caused by ADD / ADHD, anxiety, depression, all of the above, or something else. A differential diagnosis helps answer questions such as: Is my child not learning because s/he is not paying attention or is my child not paying attention because s/he is not learning? Is my teenager depressed or “just being a normal teenager?” A differential diagnosis is important to ensure the child is receiving the right kind of help as well as to make sure efforts and resources aren’t wasted treating the wrong problem.
In short, a neuropsychological evaluation helps get to the bottom of things and pinpoints what the problem is and what can be done to help. It also identifies the child’s strengths and learning style and how to leverage them.
A neuropsychological evaluation helps you and your son or daughter’s teachers, tutors, and therapists understand your child and – just as importantly – not misunderstand your child.
A neuropsychological evaluation provides clarity and guidance. It helps you and your son or daughter’s teachers, tutors, and therapists understand your child and – just as importantly – not misunderstand your child.
What is a neuropsychological evaluation? What is a neuropsychological assessment battery? What does a neuropsychologist do?
A neuropsychological evaluation (a.k.a. neuropsychological assessment, neuropsychological testing) is a way of objectively measuring how the brain processes information or how the brain is performing. It looks at areas such as attention, executive functioning, planning, organization, problem solving, memory, language, nonverbal abilities, intelligence, reading, writing, math, social skills, emotional functioning, fine motor skills, and other areas. Neuropsychological testing provides clients with tasks to perform, such as answering questions, memorizing information, and solving puzzles. Some of the tasks seem like “brain teasers.” Other tasks seem like the types of things a child does in school, like reading, writing, and math exercises.
Dr. Petrosky then performs a thorough analysis of the neuropsychological test data. This includes objective scores, but much more than that, Dr. Petrosky goes “past the scores” and looks at why the scores are high or low, why certain tasks were challenging and why others were easy for the child. Neuropsychological testing analysis also includes looking at patterns of scores, strengths, and weaknesses.
Dr. Petrosky uses this information to answer the questions that brought the child in for a neuropsychological evaluation, like the questions above. Most importantly, he uses this information to generate practical, actionable recommendations.
What is Dr. Petrosky’s process for conducting a neuropsychological evaluation?
A neuropsychological assessment with Dr. Petrosky generally involves 5 sessions and a comprehensive and detailed neuropsychological evaluation report:
- Session 1: The Parent Interview. This is a diagnostic interview with the child’s parents or legal guardian and generally lasts about 45 minutes. This session may be done in person or virtually. Dr. Petrosky finds out what questions about the child the parent needs answered and what the parent wants to get out of the evaluation. Dr. Petrosky also collects information about the child’s developmental, medical, family, social, and educational history.
- Sessions 2, 3, and 4: Testing Sessions with the Child. Usually three testing sessions are enough for Dr. Petrosky to collect all the information he needs, although sometimes he needs an additional session with the child. Each of these sessions are about 2 hours long.
Most children, even those with attention difficulty, can sit for the full time, although an increased number of shorter sessions can be arranged if necessary. The testing is one on one and designed to be engaging, so most children, including those with special needs, can sit for the 2 hours. If needed, however, Dr. Petrosky modifies the above format to accommodate the child, such as by doing more testing sessions shorter in duration. Dr. Petrosky also can combine the parent interview and the first testing session into one visit (provided the parent interview is in person), if the child is old enough to wait in the waiting room while Dr. Petrosky first speaks with the parent and then meets with the child. All of the child’s testing sessions are in person.
- Session 5: The Parent Feedback session. The neuropsychological assessment culminates in an in-depth feedback session with the parents in which Dr. Petrosky explains all the results, findings, and recommendations and answers parent questions. This session is like an in depth consultation session. The feedback session lasts 1 – 2 hours, depending on how many questions the parents have. It can be done in person or virtually.
For older clients (e.g. high school age), if Dr. Petrosky and the parents feel it would be helpful, Dr. Petrosky also conducts a separate feedback session for the student. These sessions are shorter than the parent feedback session. Dr. Petrosky does not want the student to feel “under a microscope” or like s/he is being lectured. So, these sessions are “short and sweet.” Dr. Petrosky goes over the main bullet points. Dr. Petrosky wants this to be a validating experience for the student. He goes over the student’s strengths and presents the main areas of challenge in a proactive, constructive manner (e.g. “In order to have an easier time with x, you might want to try…”).
- The neuropsychological evaluation report is several things. Firstly, it explains all the results and findings. You shouldn’t have to be a psychologist to understand your child’s neuropsychological report. For this reason, Dr. Petrosky places great emphasis on explaining the results and “buzz words” in easy to understand, everyday language. Secondly, the neuropsychological assessment report contains Dr. Petrosky’s diagnosis, if there is one. Thirdly, the report serves as documentation to try to get the child the proper services, modifications, and accommodations from the school district. Finally, the report is a reference guide for helping, as Dr. Petrosky provides many practical recommendations about what parents, teachers, therapists, the child him/herself, and others can do to promote the child’s development.
Are sessions done in person or virtually?
All the neuropsychological testing sessions with the child and Dr. Petrosky are done in person. The initial diagnostic interview and final feedback session with the parents can be done virtually or in-person, depending on parent preference.
What does a neuropsychological evaluation cost?
Dr. Petrosky conducts 4 types of evaluations that differ in terms of whether or not, in addition to everything else he is assessing, Dr. Petrosky also assesses social and/or emotional functioning. These evaluations have different fees.
The types of evaluations are as follows, ordered from the lowest to highest in fee. Please contact Dr. Petrosky to get the exact fee for each of these evaluations.
- Comprehensive Neuropsychological Evaluation. This type of evaluation is appropriate for most referrals Dr. Petrosky receives. The particular areas assessed depend on the specifics of the referral question and include areas such as: attention, executive functioning, memory, language, sensorimotor skills, intelligence, reading, writing, and math. This type of evaluation is appropriate for purposes including educational planning as well as to diagnose learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, as well as Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia, the neuropsychological consequences of certain neurological conditions, and Language Disorder.
- Comprehensive Neuropsychological Evaluation PLUS Testing of Emotional and Personality Functioning. This includes what is described above under “Comprehensive Neuropsychological Evaluation” and also includes an assessment of emotional and personality functioning, including use of projective tests. Testing of emotional and personality functioning assesses things such as what the client is feeling, what is triggering those emotions, the client’s coping style, and the client’s perspectives. It is helpful for gaining insight into a person’s thoughts and feelings that he or she may not be able or willing to articulate. This additional testing is helpful for making psychiatric diagnoses, such as anxiety disorders, depression, Bipolar Disorders, adjustment disorders, personality disorders, and others. It is also helpful for distinguishing whether a learning disability is causing an emotional issue or an emotional issue is causing a learning problem or both are influencing each other. This type of testing is also helpful to inform treatment planning with a psychotherapist.
- Comprehensive Neuropsychological Evaluation PLUS Testing of Social Functioning. This includes what is described above under “Comprehensive Neuropsychological Evaluation” and also includes an assessment of social functioning, including assessing areas such as theory of mind, the client’s ability to judge facial expressions and interpret social cues, make social inferences, and the client’s social/pragmatic language. This additional testing is appropriate when the referral includes an assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder, and Nonverbal Learning Disability. It is also helpful when the client’s struggles include social skills, making and keeping friends, and developing and maintaining relationships with peers and/or adults.
- Comprehensive Neuropsychological Evaluation PLUS Testing of Emotional and Personality Functioning AND Testing of Social Functioning. This includes what is described above under “Comprehensive Neuropsychological Evaluation Only,” “Comprehensive Neuropsychological Evaluation PLUS Testing of Emotional and Personality Functioning,” and “Comprehensive Neuropsychological Evaluation PLUS Testing of Social Functioning.”
What happens after the evaluation?
Part of Dr. Petrosky’s feedback session includes practical advice on what “next steps” to take, including how and with whom to share the report. He is also available for follow up questions. In addition, down the road from the evaluation, parents may wish to come in for a consultation session to discuss and assess the child’s progress since the evaluation and determine if there are any new or different actions the parents should take. There is no additional charge for parents to ask several follow up questions soon after the feedback session, although there is an additional charge for any lengthy follow-up sessions after the feedback session as well as for consultation sessions.
A neuropsychological evaluation helps people understand a child and – just as importantly – not misunderstand a child.