What is a Child Neuropsychological Assessment?

Child Neuropsychology or Paediatric Neuropsychology is a specialist field of clinical neuropsychology which studies the relationship between brain health and behaviour in children. A child neuropsychological assessment is often recommended when there has been a concern about a child’s learning, behaviour or emotional control.

A Child Neuropsychological assessment looks at a child’s cognitive abilities to get a profile of their strength’s and weaknesses.The assessment will be personalised to the individual’s needs and developmental level. A variety of methods and sources are used to gather information to guide intervention and planning. Neuropsychological assessments usually include the following: developmental, family, and medical histories, a review of previous evaluations, school records and formal testing.

Formal testing includes areas such as:

  • Cognitive or Intellectual Functioning
  • Academic skills
  • Learning and Memory 
  • Attention 
  • Executive functioning (planning, organisation, flexibility, and problem-solving skills)
  • Language skills
  • Motor skills, Visual-spatial skills
  • Emotional and behavioural functioning
  • Social skills
  • Coping Mechanisms

It can take between 2-5 face-to-face sessions to complete a neuropsychological assessment. Further time is then needed to evaluate the test results, write a comprehensive report and consider specific recommendations based upon the results. Once the report has been written you will have a feedback session to go over the assessment, ask any questions and agree the next steps.

A Neuropsychological Assessment can be helpful when:

  • Learning and or behavioural difficulties are identified both at home and school
  • Mental health difficulties such as anxiety, depression and low self esteem are identified as a result of neuropsychological deficits
  • Family support is needed for behavioural difficulties
  • School based interventions and information would help to support learning
  • Education and advice to teachers and schools would help to promote an understanding of your child’s difficulties. Brain injuries are not visible, but the resulting difficulties are often misunderstood and viewed as defiance or bad behaviour.

What are the benefits?

Following the assessment you will have the opportunity to request therapeutic sessions to help you to understand more about your child’s cognitive difficulties. This can be done on a one to one basis, or include family members and carers.  This will enable you to:

  • Gain a better picture of your child’s cognitive functioning
  • Have support for you and your child to manage emotional changes, such as low mood, low self esteem or anxiety. 
  • Help your child to cope with memory/ cognitive difficulties
  • Help you to manage any behavioural difficulties associated with brain changes.

What are the issues that can be addressed by neuropsychological assessment?

  • Cognitive deficits resulting from a brain injury (this may be from birth, an accident or an illness later in life)
  • Cognitive deficits resulting from disease or a genetic condition that affects the brain
  • Diagnosis of dyslexia
  • Adjustment to the diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder or attention deficit disorders

Please note that we are unable provide a diagnosis for Autistic Spectrum Disorders or Attention Deficit Disorders, this would require the input of a full multi disciplinary team. However, we can provide support to families and individuals who have already had this diagnosis and are looking for help in more effectively managing these disorders. It can also be helpful  for those who are undiagnosed but would like more information to help in understanding their child’s specific difficulties. If you are unsure please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or book in for a telephone consultation with our triage nurse.

We offer a free 15 minute private and confidential telephone consultation.

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Useful Links

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Child psychology and adolescent psychology

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg128/chapter/Recommendations#recognising-children-and-young-people-with-possible-autism

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng87/chapter/Recommendations#identification-and-referral