A neuropsychological assessment involves the evaluation of a child's thinking, behaviour and problem-solving skills (i.e. their cognitive development). This involves the child completing a range of paper and pencil tasks, solving practical problems, and answering questions. Additional information may also be gathered from parents, teachers and other health care providers. The child's performance is compared to other children of the same age and education level and, from this information, an individual pattern of thinking and learning strengths and weaknesses is defined. This information is then used to guide intervention strategies at home, in school, and in the community.

A neuropsychological assessment will provide you with:

  • A description of your child's cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
  • A clearer understanding of your child and how they learn.
  • Recommendations for educational planning and support needs.
  • Help in knowing what is fair to expect from your child at this point in time.
  • Help in knowing what your child’s needs may be in the future.
  • Practical recommendations to help your child function more effectively at school.
  • Suggestions for improving your child's behaviour.
  • Referral to other support services where required, such as a clinical psychologist, occupational, physical or speech therapist for ongoing help with your child's behaviour and development.

The assessment process generally involves a clinical interview with parents/caregivers, formal testing with a range of tasks, liaison with teachers, preparation of a detailed report, feedback and intervention planning if needed. The skills which are typically assessed are:

  • General intellectual ability
  • Academic ability
  • Attention and concentration
  • Learning and memory
  • Language
  • Executive functions
  • Adaptive behaviours
  • Social skills
  • Emotional control

What can I expect during a Neuropsychological Assessment?

Not all neuropsychological assessments are the same; some are brief and others are comprehensive . Assessments are individually tailored to the needs of each child. The assessment can usually be conducted in one day and may take between 2 to 4 hours (including sufficient breaks) depending of the age and abilities of the child. It may include:

  • A comprehensive interview (up to 1 hour) with parents to gather information about the child's development and any parental concerns with respect to cognitive, social emotional or academic progress.
  • The child working one on one (2-4 hours) with the neuropsychologist through a battery of activities to measure a range of cognitive skills.
  • A feedback session (up to 1 hour) to review assessment findings and discuss treatment recommendations.
  • A formal report is written and provided to family and other medical professionals.
  • Feedback with the child's school can be organised on request.