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Children experiencing difficulties in the areas of learning, attention, behavior, socialization or emotional control are referred by a physician or other professional. These difficulties may be due to a disease or inborn developmental problem that affects the brain in some way; or they may be due to brain injury resulting from an accident, birth trauma or other physical stress.

At what age can my child obtain a neuropsychological evaluation?

Evaluations are appropriate for children 2 to 18. Although, depending on the referral question, toddlers under 2 or adults older than 18 may be seen as well.

How does a neuropsychological evaluation differ from a school psychological assessment?

School assessments are usually performed to determine if a child qualifies for special education programs or therapies to enhance school performance. They focus on achievement and skills needed for academic success. Generally, they do not diagnose learning or behavior disorders caused by altered brain function or development.

What is assessed?

A typical neuropsychological evaluation of a school age child lasts up to eight hours and may assess these areas:

  • General intellect
  • Achievement skills, such as reading and math
  • Executive skills, such as organization, planning, inhibition and flexibility
  • Attention
  • Learning and memory
  • Language
  • Visual-spatial skills
  • Motor coordination
  • Behavioral and emotional functioning
  • Social skills

Some abilities may be measured in more detail than others, depending on the child’s needs. Emerging skills can be assessed in very young children. However, the evaluation of a preschool child is usually shorter in duration because the child has not yet developed many skills.