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Neuropsychological Assessment

Standard clinical psychological assessment is geared toward understanding a person’s behaviors, emotions, and cognition in order to establish a diagnosis of a condition (such as ADHD, or an anxiety disorder) or general psychological problems (such as impulsivity or extreme shyness).

 

Neuropsychologists are clinical psychologists that receive additional extensive education and training on brain functions and related cognitive functions and their assessment.

A neuropsychological assessment then evaluates multiple cognitive functions (such as attention/concentration, memory, ability to learn, organization, and perceptual and motor function), together with all clinical aspects assessed in a standard clinical evaluation. This type of assessment provides a high-resolution integrative picture of a person’s emotional, behavioral, and cognitive functions, and importantly, the interactions between those aspects. For example, problems in concentration may be a result of one or more factors including an emotional problem, a cognitive/neurological problem, a medical problem, or due to medications.

 

A neuropsychological assessment typically includes:

  • An interview to obtain historical information, as well as a detailed picture of the current status.

  • Standard, research-based cognitive testing assessing cognitive functions.

  • Structured clinical interviews, and research-based self-report questionnaires

  • Feedback session where results of the assessment and recommendations are discussed. 

  • A formal written report.

 

Remote Neuropsychological Assessment 

At this time I offer remote neuropsychological assessments that include: remote sessions for interviews via an encrypted video platform, a secured online platform where clients complete self-report questionnaires, a reliable and valid research-based remotely administered computerized neuropsychological battery, and additional neuropsychological tests which I administer remotely via an encrypted video session. Research indicates that when done properly with the appropriate tools, remote neuropsychological assessments are reliable and valid - similar to face-to-face assessments.

 

A comprehensive neuropsychological assessment can help answer questions such as:

  • Do I have ADHD?

  • I am 60 years old and recently started to become forgetful, and have difficulty concentrating. Are these early signs of dementia?

  • I have been dealing with anxiety and depression but also with difficulties in planning and organizing my time. Is it because of my emotional problems or due to something else?  

  • I have multiple medical issues and possible attention problems. I also receive several medications daily. What is the cause of my attention problems?

  • I was diagnosed with a psychological disorder, but I also have cognitive difficulties. What is the cause?

 

My approach to neuropsychological assessments is that it should be both rigorous and flexible. Beyond the standard tests and measures, I carefully assess the person’s situation and tailor the assessment to each specific client as needed, including during the evaluation itself as new information presents itself. Therefore, a complete neuropsychological evaluation can take between 3-8 hours, depending on the specific case and assessment question. In addition, my approach is that once a neuropsychological evaluation identifies problems, when applicable, I provide recommendations for the next steps (such as treatment or further assessments).

 

ADHD Testing

ADHD is a developmental disorder that usually persists into adulthood. It is characterized by problems with attention and impulsivity, and higher-order ‘executive’ functions, such as inhibition, organization, decision-making, emotional regulation, and working memory. More than 50% of cases will also experience significant behavioral impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity/restlessness. In addition, most adults with ADHD struggle with additional co-occurring disorders, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.

There are many challenges in ADHD testing, primarily because inattention and problems with executive function can be a result of multiple causes such as neurological (brain) disorders, emotional problems, medications, medical problems, and stress. In fact, ADHD is considered one of the top misdiagnosed disorders. Therefore, although ADHD can be diagnosed without the addition of cognitive tests, a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation is highly recommended and important in identifying the type and extent of cognitive difficulties and allows for determining if the primary problem is indeed ADHD alone, another disorder, or both.

The way I construct and interpret neuropsychological assessment for ADHD is informed by my clinical experience, but also by my lifelong research on ADHD, including investigating computerized neuropsychological assessment of adult ADHD, how additional disorders interact with ADHD, how other conditions may be misdiagnosed as ADHD, and how symptoms of other disorders may disguise as ADHD symptoms. Thus, my experience as a scientist-practitioner in the field of ADHD, together with utilizing gold-standard assessment tools, allows me to provide clients with clear, accurate, and reliable information regarding their cognitive profile, clinical status, and resulting recommendations.

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