Children and Adolescents
You are Concerned
Your child may be struggling in school, at home, or socially, and is not performing or developing as you have hoped or expected. It may be nothing - just a passing phase or an immaturity. You may have been told that he or she is sure to “grow out of it.” But time is passing and the gap between your child and their peers keeps widening… and you are becoming more and more concerned.
The reality is that many children are challenged by differences in their learning styles or abilities that negatively impact their ability to navigate through their day and meet their responsibilities at school, at home, and/or socially. Many of these children may be struggling with subtle, but real challenges in their thinking, processing, problem-solving or social skills. He or she may be having trouble staying focused in class, learning and remembering material being taught, or with their academic skills. Some children, despite their genuine interest in wanting to act appropriately, may still have trouble controlling their behavior. They always seem to be saying or doing something without thinking of the consequences. As they grow, they may begin to show signs of low self-esteem, oppositional/defiant behaviors, or always seem “on edge,” easily annoyed, angry, and irritable.
Well-intentioned advice pours in from all directions, from teachers, friends, in-laws, parents, and self-proclaimed “experts.” You turn the pages of community magazines who promise to solve a wide range of problems if you purchase their product or employ their services. Unfortunately, many of these approaches are completely unfounded, and prey upon a parent’s unbounded desire to help their child.
About the Evaluation
A comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation conducted by a well-trained and experienced neuropsychologist, provides an objective and unbiased analysis of your child’s strengths and difficulties. Each child’s unique neurocognitive and behavioral/emotional profile is carefully reviewed and studied, which is an essential first step to developing an effective, evidence-based treatment plan to get your child back on track.
The evaluation process typically begins with a detailed interview with the child’s parent(s), during which the parents describe the problems they see their child exhibiting, as well as the concerns expressed by teachers or other professionals working with the child. A review of the child’s developmental, medical, and educational history, as well as previous evaluations and interventions is also conducted at this point.
The actual evaluation consists of child-friendly tasks that have been identified as key underlying skills necessary for a child’s success. These tasks are administered in a structured, but gentle and interactive manner, so that the child is able to demonstrate what comes easy to them, and what type of activities they find challenging. Since these tasks have been well researched and administered to many children across each age group, normative data is available to compare a specific child’s performance to that of the norm. It is therefore critical for the evaluator to take into account cultural, language, and educational differences, and only then determine whether the child’s abilities are developmentally appropriate. Behavioral, social, and emotional functioning is assessed somewhat differently, utilizing parent and teacher rating scales, behavioral observation, projective measures of personality functioning, and through clinical interview. The process usually takes place over the course of two sessions, a couple of hours per session. Children typically enjoy the evaluation process, as they often find many of the tasks interesting, interactive, and challenging. Positive reinforcement is used to encourage each child to do their best.
Following the evaluation, a meeting is set up with the parents to discuss the results of the evaluation and to come to a clearer understanding of the nature of their child’s difficulties. Based on these findings, evidence-based treatment recommendations are provided. The recommendations may involve specific educational interventions, emotional support, medication consultation, parent training, and/or social skills training, to name a few. Results of the evaluation and recommendations are subsequently provided in a detailed written report.
The entire evaluation is confidential, so absolutely no information is released without parental authorization, as outlined by law. This process, while extensive, has proven to be extremely effective in identifying the underlying causes of a child’s difficulties an objective, unbiased manner, and sets the stage for a focused action plan to help each child based upon their unique set of strengths and challenges.