mercredi 25 août 2010

Neuropsychological Assessments for Children

Many children experience learning difficulties; quite often, parents do not know their cause. Is it simply a mild retardation, a lack of motivation, or yet a genuine learning problem or attention deficit? Schools can, at times, offer certain services (special educators or school psychologists), but school board resources being often limited, the school psychologists do not always have the opportunity to meet all the children having difficulties or do not have the proper means to do the more thorough assessments that neuropsychologists can conduct.

Unfortunately, many children are often diagnosed late or sometimes they are not diagnosed at all. Consequently, when we think we might be confronted with a learning disability, an attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD) or any other problem of a neuropsychological nature, an assessment conducted by a neuropsychologist will allow us to pinpoint the diagnostic and provide direction for follow-up and adequate treatment. The assessment allows us to determine the functioning of the different cognitive spheres of an individual such as: attention; memory; language; intelligence; etc.

Working in cooperation with the special educator, the school psychologist, the family doctor or the speech therapist, the neuropsychologist can determine the child's functioning profile and provide recommendations to the school, the parents and other professionals. A neurological assessment report often allows the student to benefit from certain latitudes in class (such as having more time to write exams), or allows him to receive specialized help like special education or speech therapy.

When should a neuropsychological assessment be considered?

You should first talk with those who deal with the child to get their impression. Teachers and special educators are aware of the problems facing students, and while they may not be able to evaluate them, they can certainly give you their opinions. Therefore, if your child experiences major difficulties in school, or if the problems have been going on for a few years, a neuropsychological assessment could be considered. If the child shows signs of an attention deficit disorder such as: losing his personal effects; constantly forgetting his things; "daydreaming"; being hyperactive (i.e., talking too much in class), a neuropsychological consultation could also be beneficial.

How is a neuropsychological assessment conducted?

Before starting the assessment with the child, we first meet with the parents to develop the welcoming or opening interview. Afterwards, the child is met two to three times for a total of four to six hours of assessment. Teachers are sometimes contacted to know the behaviour or the difficulties of the child in class. The neuropsychologist then analyzes the results and writes the report. A final meeting is held with the parents to present the results, hand over the report and make recommendations.

If you would like to get more information about our neuropsychological services, please do not hesitate to call 819.777.7744 and ask for Charles Leclerc.

Yannick Mailloux, Ph.D.
Y2 Consulting Psychologists

You liked this article? Here's some more from the same author:

Redécouvrez vos enfants... qu'ils soient petits ou grands ! : Part 2

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