Why was I or my family member referred for a Neuropsychological Evaluation?

Adults are referred for neuropsychological testing for a variety of reasons.  Physicians request evaluations to assist with clarifying diagnosis and to provide information to assist in ongoing care.  Referrals are often made based on subjective concerns that individuals or family members express to their doctor.  Typically, treating physicians and individuals being evaluated are hoping to find out answers to specific concerns.  Common questions expressed by our patients include:

Did I suffer brain damage from _________? (an accident, trauma, or other risk factor)

Has my medical illness or procedures needed for treatment resulted in brain injury, how is this affecting me?

Why do I have memory loss?  What does it mean for my future?

Do I have Attention Deficit problems?  Can I overcome this?

Do I have a Learning Disability?  What accommodations do I need?

 

Who will benefit from testing?

Neuropsychological Evaluations are helpful for many cognitive risk factors, which include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  •  Neurological/Medical Conditions (Stroke, MS)
  •  Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  •  Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD/FAE)
  •  Dementias (Alzheimer’s, Pick’s, Parkinson’s, etc.)
  •  Toxin Exposure (Carbon Monoxide Poisoning)
  •  Concussion
  •  Seizure Disorders
  •  Psychiatric Conditions (Tourette’s, Bipolar, Addictions) 
  •  Mental Retardation/Cognitive Impairment
  •  Developmental Disorders (Autism, Asperger’s Disorder)
  •  Speech/Language Disorders
  • Learning Disorders (LD), Dyslexia

 

What is involved in the evaluation?

Neuropsychological testing usually involves interviews, review of medical records, and tests that measure a variety of skills and abilities.  Each test offers its own special type of information, and together the test battery gives a full picture of a person's functioning.  The choice of tests used depends upon the question to be answered.  Neuropsychological testing can be more beneficial than an MRI at determining brain functioning.  In addition, it offers a wealth of information about every day cognitive functioning that can be useful in treatment planning.

Most testing begins in the morning hours with an interview and description of the tests. Whenever possible, testing will be completed in one day, but in some circumstances testing is best completed over two days. Breaks are taken as needed. 

Dr. Fuller completes the majority of his own testing, which ensures the best understanding and allows the most through and valid interpretation of the data presented by the individual. In some circumstances Dr. Fuller is assisted by a technician (neuropsychometrist), who completes some aspects of test administration under his guidance and supervision. The overall goal of testing is to obtain information that indicates present functioning and points toward aids and accommodations that will enhance future functioning.

 

What abilities are evaluated?

  • Global Abilities (Intelligence)
  • Language and Communication
  • Memory and Learning
  • Attention and Concentration
  • Executive Functions (Planning, Problem Solving, Mental Flexibility)
  • Visual Spatial Skills
  • Motor Coordination
  • Academic Skills
  • Emotional Functioning

 

How long does it take?

Testing is not screening. Screening takes minutes to complete while testing usually takes hours. While screening gives an idea of what is going on, testing is a thorough investigation to give as definitive answer as possible.  Most Adults spend between three and six hours completing testing in the clinic. Several hours are also spent providing feedback and producing comprehensive reports that are provided to patients and referring physicians.