Dr. Mabel Lopez is a trained neuropsychologist with a Ph.D., Internship, Post Doctoral Residency and 10 years independent clinical experience in neuropsychology. She completed both pediatric and geriatric neuropsychology training during her doctoral program, internship and residency.
Neuropsychological assessment is used to evaluate cognitive (“thinking”) processes. Neuropsychological assessment is often necessary to determine the underlying cause of an academic, social/emotional problem, memory problems, or overall problems in many areas of daily living.
Neuropsychological assessment typically evaluate strengths and weaknesses in a variety of cognitive domains including attention, learning, memory, visual-perceptual and visual-motor skills, language skills, processing speed, and executive function skills (reasoning, organization and planning for example).
In children, neuropsychological testing can evaluate if a child suffers from particular problems with learning, reasoning, or paying attention, for example. Neuropsychological evaluation can also be helpful in delineating areas of cognitive strengths and weaknesses when a child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder or a Specific Learning Disability (SLD). A thorough neuropsychological evaluation can provide direction on how best to accommodate and remediate areas of specific weakness while capitalizing on strengths, which schools typically use in Individual Education Plans (IEPs).
In adults, Neuropsychological evaluations are very helpful after brain injuries. A significant part of our practice involves performing comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations of individuals who may have suffered neurological injury from trauma (e.g., sports concussions, motor vehicle accidents, falls, blast injuries, et cetera), strokes, toxic exposure, or other brain disorder (hydrocephalus, Parkinson’s Disease). Neuropsychological assessment with neuropsychological testing involving established batteries allow for quantification of the range of normal as well as impaired behavior, identifies potential strengths for rehabilitations and identifies as well as quantifies areas and patterns of deficit allowing for comparison with expectations for various forms of neurological illness or injury. In some cases, a determination of likely permanency can be made, while in others repeat assessment may be needed to gauge extent of recovery, response to medication or other treatment interventions or assess the possibility of complications or deterioration.
Adults needing neuropsychological testing may also be college students who may need testing accommodations for school, such as extra time to complete tests or other educational accommodations, often request adult ADHD evaluation. Formal testing, usually within two years of the request is usually required by colleges and universities as well as national testing boards such as Law School entrance examinations, GRE’s, Medical School entrance examinations, et cetera. The neuropsychological evaluation in these cases are often aided by supporting documentation of prior treatment, school accommodations and/or other school records. Although mild forms of ADHD or Specific Learning Disorders in a bright student may not become readily apparent until the increased demands of high school or college.
In older adults, neuropsychological testing can play a major role in the diagnosis of dementia by documenting cognitive deficits, the key criteria for the diagnosis. Differential diagnosis of dementia is helpful for treatment and disease course progression. Because the most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, dementia batteries often focus on memory impairment. Many tests to assess, detect, and characterize memory deficit are well established with recognized predictive value for the diagnosis of dementia. By testing other cognitive domains, patterns of other common causes of dementia (e.g., Vascular, Lewy Body, Parkinson, NPH) may also be discerned.
Finally, neuropsychological testing can help, along with other testing, to determine a differential diagnosis among several possible disorders.
If you are not sure whether a Neuropsychological Evaluation is necessary in your case, please call us at 239-768-6500 to better determine your need(s).