Seemingly minor changes in the brain can have a large effect on thinking, emotions and behavior. These changes may be due to a number of medical, neurological, psychological, or genetic causes. Testing is usually recommended when there are symptoms or complaints in these areas to determine if there is an underlying brain disorder. A typical neuropsychological evaluation covers many areas of brain function, and involves assessment of the following:
Attention and concentration
Memory and learning
Visual-spatial skills (e.g., perception)
Motor and sensory skills
Higher level executive skills (e.g., sequencing, reasoning, problem solving)
Mood and personality
Some abilities may be measured in more detail than others depending on the needs of the individual. The evaluation takes several hours of testing, as well as several hours to score,interpret and write the report. Testing is typically completed in one to two visits, with results and recommendations available in approximately two to four weeks after the last visit.
What Will The Results Reveal?
Test results can be used to understand your situation in a number of ways.
Neuropsychological testing can identify weaknesses in specific areas. It is very sensitive to mild memory and thinking problems that might not be obvious in other ways. When problems are mild, testing may be the best way to detect them. Testing may also be used to identify problems related to medical conditions that can affect memory and thinking, such as diabetes, metabolic or infectious diseases, or alcoholism.
Neuropsychological test results can help with school and occupational training, as well as aid in differentiating among diagnoses. This is important because appropriate treatment depends on accurate diagnosis. The pattern of strengths and weaknesses on testing can be helpful in determining which areas of the brain might be involved and what diagnosis is most accurate.
Sometimes testing is used to establish a “baseline” or document a person’s skills before there is any problem. In this way, later changes can be measured very objectively.
What Should Be Expected?
A neuropsychological evaluation usually consists of an interview and testing. During the interview, information that is important for the Neuropsychologist to consider will be reviewed. The individual will be asked about symptoms, medical history, medications, and other important factors. Testing involves taking paper-and-pencil or computerized tests and answering questions. These tests are typically administered by a Neuropsychological Testing Assistant, who may be an intern or post-doctoral student, working under the supervision of the Neuropsychologist. Common conditions that may warrant a Neuropsychological Evaluation:
Suspected or confirmed brain injury
Dementia / Alzheimer’s
Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or other neurological conditions
Who is Eligible for Neuropsychological Evaluations?
Are medically stable
Can demonstrate a way to pay for our services
Funding for Neuropsychological Evaluations
We accept most insurance plans including:
Anthem, Cigna, Aetna and other commercial insurers
Contact Sharlene Adams
Executive Director, Health Care Services Goodwill NeuroRehab Services at BaySide - Portland, ME
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