Neuropsychological Evaluation
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This article was solicited from and contributed by Parth Gandhi, Ph.D.  Dr. Gandhi is a Utah based clinical neuropsychologist who performs neuropsychological testing. In addition to testing performed at his professional office in Salt Lake City, Dr. Gandhi is prepared to provide evaluations at a location of the client’s choice anywhere in the U.S. and possibly outside the U.S.  For more information on Dr. Gandhi and his practice, click on this sentence. 

Psychological Testing is the scientific use of standardized methods to better understand cognitive and personality functioning. 

Standard Psychological/Diagnostic evaluations include clinical interviews, testing of cognitive and personality characteristics, a write-up of test results, and consultation with the parents and treatment programs. Many clinical professionals and educational institutions request test results to ensure that they are accepting students for whom they can be most helpful. Consequently, testing is often an important component of treatment and aftercare planning. This testing includes:

o    Cognitive:  IQ and achievement testing to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a persons thinking. General assessment of eleven domains including: general awareness, attention, verbal comprehension, visual-spatial ability, computation, abstract thought, impulsivity, problem solving, social comprehension, and judgment.

o    Academic functioning. Rule out learning disabilities. 

o    Emotional:  Assess emotional functioning and assess for depression, anxiety, deficits in identity formation, obsessive/compulsive disorders, and sleep disorders. Assess personality functioning. Obtain data regarding developmental and emotional age. Obtain data regarding family dynamics. Evaluates who the child is and why he or she is behaving as they are.

o    Behavioral:  Screen for substance abuse. Screen for trauma and abuse. Screen for risk of self-harm, aggression, and treatment compliance or flight. Detect malingering and deceit. Screen for behaviors that are high risk, illegal, or violate the rights of others or major social values.

o    Rule out thought disorders and screen for organic impairment. 

Neuropsychological Assessment is used to better understand learning problems that could be related to genetics, injury or illness.  The determination to perform a Neuropsychological evaluation is usually based on evidence to suggest problems with learning either academically or non-traditionally.  Other considerations would be social skills development and the possibility of a autism-spectrum disorder, concussion or head injury that has caused learning problems, and a multitude of other issues that cause cognitive deficits.

Building on the Standard assessment, the neuropsychologist will specifically analyze memory, language, attention, planning, organization, problem-solving, and executive skills to define strengths and weaknesses that are specific for your child.  Learning Disabilities can be genetic or from injury or disease. Often they may be subtle and easily masked by behavioral problems.  Having this thorough evaluation completed by a Neuropsychologist trained in neurodevelopment will lead to recommendations that can be used in the school setting, IEPs, and at home.  

Neuropsychological testing assesses cognitive, personality, and functional areas through integration of: Intellectual and Academic functioning, Executive Functioning, Language and Reading skills (receptive, expressive, figurative, semantic, syntactical), Phonology, Memory - attention, short & long term memory, visual & auditory memory, gross motor development, balance, hemispheric dominance, fine motor control & speed, L-R discrimination. 

Executive skills assessment includes: problem-solving & planning, organization, inhibition, planning, and spatial relations.  In addition, because personal efficiency and effectiveness are dramatically affected by emotional state, we also evaluate Personality functioning to understand how the patient feels about themselves and interacts with the world around them. Collateral information and Behavioral Assessment is sought from parents, educators, doctors, and therapists when appropriate. Client specific Recommendations and Prescriptive Protocols are then made to help with educational decisions, school accommodations (if appropriate), and the different types of therapy. 

For patients that we find that it is necessary, we can also include a Behavioral Consultation and additional report to help with the remediation of very specific behavioral problems so that education and therapy can move forward.

Information on Dr. Gandhi's practice

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Last updated 9-17-09

 

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