Normalizing the Neuropsych: 5 things to Know about Neuropsychological Testing for Students

5 things to Know about Neuropsychological Testing for Students

  1. A neuropsychological exam can be administered proactively, or in response to challenges a student may be facing in the classroom and/or at home. It can serve as the first step toward early identification of emerging learning or developmental challenges in younger children, and can help to provide information about an older child’s existing learning challenges and social, emotional, and behavioral functioning. No matter when the exam is conducted, it will provide valuable data that can be used to inform recommendations, and in some cases, specific interventions or treatment to address identified challenges. 
  2. The neuropsych provides a broad and integrated understanding of cognition, academics, memory, attention, executive functioning, as well as social and emotional factors that can impact a child’s success in school. During the school application process, the neuropsych can play an important role in helping a school to determine if they are able to support the needs of a student. In some cases, the results are not always relevant to or representative of a child’s current ability or functioning, and in those instances, we can provide expert advice based on our years of experience and understanding of schools to our families. The information gleaned from the evaluation may suggest a particular school is not the right fit for a student, and we value that feedback from our partners in school admissions. We have these conversations with schools early in the admission process, often giving us the opportunity to share this information with parents before they submit a formal application.
  3. Included in the neuropsych report are insights from parents, teachers, the evaluator, and sometimes the student. Integrating information from each of these sources allows for the most robust representation of a child across multiple settings and from various perspectives. It is not uncommon for these views to differ somewhat as children do perform and behave variably in specific surroundings, and when necessary, we provide additional context to school admissions staff to shed light on additional factors influencing a student’s presentation. 
  4. Recommendations, accommodations, and interventions that result from a neuropsych report provide a detailed roadmap for families and schools to guide a student toward success. Families and professionals can use this information to identify appropriate settings, programs, and opportunities that will address a student’s challenges. In addition to identifying areas of relative weakness for a student, the neuropsych report also serves to highlight the student’s strengths, which also factor in when considering the most appropriate academic setting. When a student’s academic, social, and emotional needs are met, and the student is given the chance to utilize their strengths in school, he/she/they can truly thrive. 
  5. In some instances, a child may be evaluated at an early age and based on those results, no additional evaluations are recommended. In other cases, repeated evaluations over time can provide the opportunity to track the student’s progress and assess growth while also accounting for additional challenges the student encounters as a result of the changing demands placed on a child progressing through school. Recommendations, accommodations, and interventions may change over time as a reflection of the student’s current functioning. For those students requiring recurring evaluations, tests can be readministered annually, or every 2-3 years as deemed appropriate by medical or educational professionals.

About The Author

Rachel Leja, M.S.