Nearly every parent wants his child to be active, healthy, and enjoy life while growing up. Childhood can both an easy and tough period for a child as he/she is still in a learning phase and getting to know about things. Parents should pay close attention to both the physical and mental health of their child as it is seen that many children tend to keep to themselves and may not easily share things.
If your child is having learning and communication difficulties, then you must get a neuropsychology evaluation of the child. You can get the child evaluated at school or can get a private evaluation. The assessment of the child is done by a pediatric neuropsychologist who is qualified and licensed to identify, diagnose, and give treatment options depending on the problems and issues the child may be experiencing.
The pediatric neuropsychologists are trained to study the development of the child’s brain and evaluate the signs and symptoms of the child that he is facing at home, school, and his surroundings. The pediatric neuropsychologists are not medical doctors, so they cannot prescribe medications but may recommend certain therapies that may bring positive change in the child’s behavior.
The main emphasis of child neuropsychology is on the relation between the mind and behavior of the child, and how certain changes affect the ability of a child to perform well both in school and home. The brain is one of the essential organs of the body and controls nearly every physical and physiological action in the body. The neuropsychologist has the responsibility to study how the thinking and action of a person are related to the way his brain works so that he can diagnose and treat brain disorders.
The telltale signs that a child may be having neurophysiological issues are finding difficulty concentrating, falling grades at school, having trouble making a decision, and not getting along with his peers or other children of the same age. The neuropsychology evaluation is necessary as it covers every aspect of the child, which includes I.Q, language, motor skills, and memory, problem-solving, social, and visual-spatial.
The child neuropsychology and counseling center is a place where the behavior of the child is studied and analyzed. The drastic changes in child behavior and action can be due to any brain disorder, a medical disease, a brain injury, family history, or a developmental issue. The pediatric neuropsychologists work with parents, teachers, and physicians on various issues such as
- The main elements that are causing the child to behave in a certain way
- Helping a child to deal with his/her behavior
- Finding ways that can help the child learn best
- Identify the underlying neurological or psychiatric issues
- Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the child
The pediatric neuropsychologists use standard tests developed to analyze the behavior and action of a child. The neuropsychologists are keen to focus on the main aspects of a child that includes sensory and motor skills, language speaking and understanding, visual-spatial processing, attention and memory, and academic skills. If a child is having difficulty in reading, then it may be due to auditory processing disorder. The evaluation process can take several sessions, and one session lasts from 2 to 3 hours. There are different stages of the evaluation process such as
- Initial meeting
In the first visit, the neuropsychologist will take a complete history of the child and his current behavior at home and school. The parents may be asked to fill a questionnaire or a form about the child’s behavior and development. The neuropsychologist may also ask about any previous medical tests or therapy, the child has gone through, and if the child is taking medicines or not. After taking down important information, the neuropsychologist will decide the tests to be administered
The child will come back to the neuropsychologist for testing; a session may last for 90 minutes to 3 hours. The test may be given on a paper, or the child may be allowed to give the test on a computer. The child will be asked different questions and also asked to solve various problems. The tests are usually administered to measure key aspects of child behavior such as intelligence, processing speed, language, problem-solving, social skills, motor skills, visual perception, and memory.
- Analysis and diagnosis
The neuropsychologist will review the tests and also consider the school and medical report of the child and then put out the diagnosis. If the child is a teenager, then he would be allowed to be part of the discussion. The neuropsychologist will describe the test results and explain how certain areas are affecting the learning and development of a child.
The neuropsychologist may also suggest different therapy in the treatment plan. The neuropsychologist evaluation should be done as it can help identify any underlying signs and symptoms that may further affect the development of the child. The neuropsychologist evaluation is necessary and may help a child if he/she has
- Any neurological disorder such as cerebral palsy, neurofibromatosis, hydrocephalus, and seizures.
- Suffered any brain injury or trauma that may have resulted in a stroke, infection, or lack of oxygen
- Any other medical condition which includes diabetes, genetic disorders, or chronic heart diseases
- Been exposed to inhalants, smoking, or drugs
- Any development problems such as learning disability, autism, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The physician will recommend a pediatric neuropsychological evaluation of your child to either know or confirm a diagnosis. The physical health and behavior of the child will be checked before and after treatment with medicines. The treatment plan of the neuropsychologist can be adjusted according to the needs and health of the child. The pediatric neuropsychologist may often use the same tests as done in school for evaluation, but the evaluation tests in school usually focus on determining the academic skills of the child, such as reading, problem-solving, memory, and visual perception. The child neuropsychologists are qualified in clinical psychology, which helps them to assess the child effectively and suggest treatment to help the child overcome his developmental issues.