What is a Neuropsychological Assessment?
A neuropsychological assessment is given by a neuropsychologist, a specialist with extensive training and experience in the relationship between the workings of the brain and a person’s mental functioning, including intelligence, memory and concentration, language, visual perception, and executive functioning. Dr. Raffle begins with a comprehensive review of the family's medical and mental health history, the person’s medical and mental health history, alcohol and drug abuse, and significant life stressors. Dr. Raffle also considers a person’s age, gender, race, ethnicity, language competence, country of origin, and cultural background. Then a series of game-like tests are performed that look for impairment in one or more areas of the brain, as well as problems in certain functional brain systems, in order to confirm the cause of a person’s behaviors and impairment in life functioning. Finally, Dr. Raffle considers the “ecological validity” of a person’s impairment – how the person’s difficulties affect the way the person functions in the real world.
Who Needs a Neuropsychological Assessment?
Dr. Raffle performs a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment on anyone who has developmental delays (e.g., Down syndrome, cerebral palsy), a history of acquired brain injury (e.g., cancer and its treatment or toxic exposure), traumatic brain injury (e.g., falls, violence, or near-drowning), or medical illness (e.g., epilepsy, stroke, or encephalitis). For seniors, neuropsychological testing is performed when there is a sudden change in personality, memory, concentration, or orientation.