What is neuropsychology?
Neuropsychology is the study of brain and behaviour. For example, when an individual sustains an injury that may impact their brain functioning (e.g. traumatic brain injury), it is important to determine how this may impact their learning, behaviour, social-emotional functioning, and functional skills. This allows for not only a better understanding of one’s needs, but also helps to set appropriate expectations for school and everyday life. Paediatric neuropsychologists have additional training in brain development and are specialized in determining how a brain injury may impact growth and identifying potential areas of difficulty in the future.
While a psychoeducational assessment focuses on whether your child has special learning needs, a neuropsychological assessment helps to determine why your child may be experiencing learning difficulties. A neuropsychological assessment includes all aspects of a psychoeducational assessment, as well as additional testing in areas that may underlie learning problems such as attention, memory, executive functioning (e.g. problem-solving, planning, mental flexibility), language and visual processing. This provides a more comprehensive understanding of your child’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing for more focused and specific recommendations and/or interventions for school, vocational planning and everyday life.
When is a neuropsychological assessment recommended?
A neuropsychological is recommended when:
Your child has sustained a brain injury or has a medical condition that may impact their thinking skills (e.g. premature birth, NF1, genetic disorders, epilepsy, exposure to chemicals/alcohol/drugs/lead prior to birth, etc.).
Your child has had learning difficulties since early development (i.e. preschool).
Your child has a complex profile and it is unclear whether their learning difficulties reflect cognitive problems, mood (e.g. depression, anxiety), and/or other factors.
Your child’s current education plan is not working and a more comprehensive understanding of their strengths and weaknesses is needed.