Pediatric neuropsychology deals with the relationship of children’s learning and behavior to their brain structures and systems. A learning disability does not mean your child is incapable of gaining knowledge and growing; instead it means a different method of teaching must be applied.
Pediatric or child neuropsychology is a field of study involving the relationship of abilities, behaviors and mental skills (cognitive functions) in children. Clinical, pediatric or child neuropsychology (neuropsych) involves the application of this field to diagnostic assessment and clinical treatment of normal and abnormal child developmental, medical, psychiatric, and neurological conditions or problems. The field shares a knowledge base with other professions. A child or pediatric neuropsychologist may work with other pediatric specialists in behavioral neurology, developmental pediatrics, pediatric neurology, child psychiatry, pediatricians, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists.
How does a neuropsychological evaluation differ from a school psychological assessment?
School assessments are usually performed to determine whether 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.
Why are children referred for neuropsychological assessment?
Children are referred by a doctor, teacher, school psychologist, or other professional because of one or more problems, such as:
Difficulty in learning, attention, behavior, socialization, or emotional control;a disease or inborn developmental problem that affects the brain in some way; or a brain injury from an accident, birth trauma, or other physical stress.
A neuropsychological evaluation assists in better understanding your child’s functioning in areas such as memory, attention, perception, coordination, language, and personality. This information will help you and your child’s teacher, therapists, and physician provide treatments and interventions for your child that will meet his or her unique needs.
Pediatric Neuropsychologists are licensed as psychologists or in some states neuropsychologists. By definition, in almost all states, these individuals have doctoral degrees from accredited programs by the American Psychological Association usually in clinical psychology or neuropsychology. To be considered a neuropsychologist one must have formal graduate level training and clinically supervised experience in neuropsychology.
Pediatric and NYC child neuropsychologists often assess memory and learning. Information from such evaluations are often helpful in determing how your child or adolescent learns best.
Pediatric or child neuropsychologists commonly assess children for attention problems such as Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning disorders such as dyslexia or math difficulties, disorders of language and/or coordination difficulties. Evaluations are often more detailed than simply involving ability assessment and assumptions are made about brain-behavior relationships. Evaluations may also involve assessments of Autism Spectrum Disorders which inclue autism, Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Assessments are aso performed to evaluate neurological conditions such as effects of a tumor, anoxia, birth complications, Cerebral Palsy, toxic exposures, head injuries or concussions. They may involve subtle or not so subtle deficits which may be involved with anemia, kidney disease or other metabolic diseases, and the effects of treatments or interventions which may impact on neurological or neuropsychological functions.
When choosing a clinic or neuropsychologist to conduct a neuropsychological evaluation on your child, it is wise to ensure the individual providing or supervising the services is a licensed psychologist with training involving both neuropsychological assessment and with children and adolescents.