Psychology and Neuropsychology
At CADD, the conditions for which we provide services can impair the development of the brain and central nervous system, often affecting behavior and learning. Specialists in Psychology and Neuropsychology focus primarily on assessment of these children and adolescents in order to assist in clarifying the child’s diagnostic profile, assess current functioning, inform appropriate educational programming, and assist with recommendations for interventions.
Psychological Consultation and Intervention
In addition to being key members of our ASD assessment teams, the pediatric psychologists at the Center also provide a small number of consultation and intervention services. These services may include parent training, guidance on behavioral management and educational programming, as well as individual therapy. If these services are not available at the time of your inquiry, the Center’s intake and resource coordinators will provide referrals to other community providers.
Neuropsychology is a specialty of Psychology that focuses on brain-behavior relationships. Our pediatric clinical neuropsychologists conduct comprehensive evaluations for children with more complex medical histories involving autism and other developmental disabilities in order to assist with treatment interventions. These evaluations will include standardized assessments and clinical observations of a child’s:
- neuropsychological strengths and weaknesses
- cognitive and social-emotional abilities
- emotional and impulse control
- reasoning, problem-solving and academic skills
- sensory abilities and motor skills
- learning and memory
These evaluations are approached from a neurodevelopmental systems perspective which addresses:
- the child as a whole
- the child in various contexts (social, cultural, familial, academic and societal)
- the neural substrates of behavior
- psychological processes
- developmental changes in brain and behaviors
How Neuropsychological Assessments Differ from Psychological Assessments
School psychologists, clinical psychologists, and neuropsychologists all employ similar measures when evaluating behavior – that is, they use psychological and other tests to examine how a child is functioning in comparison to his or her age-mates. Thus, an IQ test, academic achievement test, or test of a child’s emotional adjustment could be used by any one of these providers.
Despite this overlap in instrumentation, the services offered by each discipline are different. Assessments conducted by school psychologists focus on eligibility for special education or other school-related services and are generally focused on evaluating a child’s functioning in relationship to academic success. Assessments conducted by clinical psychologists are often focused on the psychological/emotional functioning of the child, though they can examine almost any aspect of the child’s cognitive or behavioral status.
School and clinical psychological assessments emphasize functions or psychological processes, without explicitly referencing brain structures or mechanisms. Results from a neuropsychological evaluation help the healthcare professional determine the proper rehabilitation, psychological, psychiatric or educational services for your child and family.
What To Expect
Psychological and neuropsychological evaluations can take several hours and be conducted over multiple days, depending on a child’s age and level of functioning. After the evaluation, the results and suggestions for improvement are reviewed with parents to help understand the impact of their child’s medical or neurological disorder on his/her daily functioning and ongoing development. Clinicians then work with parents to develop a plan for supporting their child medically, socially and academically including recommendations for treatment interventions.