Neuropsychology is a specialty of psychology that focuses on the relationship between brain function, learning, emotions, and behavior.
Neuropsychologists are psychologists who have extensive training in the relationship between our brain and how it affects behavior. Also, Neuropsychologists have specialized training about the brain and related disorders during their doctoral-level coursework, research, internship, and fellowship. Neuropsychologists also help patients improve brain functions and cope with changes through strategies such as cognitive and rehabilitation therapies.
Generally, neuropsychologists begin with a thorough interview which can include interviewing you about your life, medical history and, current concerns. Neuropsychological evaluation helps to document a patient's cognitive strengths and challenges using a series of verbal and paper and pencil tests, as well as, sometimes various computerized tests. Dr. Sanchez’s specific approach includes utilizing standardized tests which help to examine cognitive and emotional functioning, including measures of attention, concentration, intelligence, learning and memory, language skills, and visuospatial skills.
When we use the term “standardized,” this means that we give these tests to all patients in a similar manner and this allows us to compare your performance against that of your peers to determine if a particular skill is a strength or challenge. This pattern of strengths and challenges helps to better understand how your individual brain is functioning and how this may be impacting you in day-to-day life.
Neuropsychological evaluation helps to document a patient's cognitive strengths and challenges. Gaining a better understanding of your response pattern on certain tests will:
• Help with differential diagnosis of various brain conditions.
• Give us a baseline to compare later evaluations with. This will also allow your doctor to identify ways in which your functioning has worsened or improved with treatment or to even determine if the functioning is declining due to the effects of a specific disease process.
• Uncover strengths and challenges in daily functioning skills that a patient may need assistance with. For example, financial management ability, problem-solving, social skills, and/or decision-making skills.
• Provide us with additional useful information about whether or not a given treatment or neurosurgical procedure is appropriate for a particular person.
• To assist with making appropriate clinical recommendations to improve
functioning and coping.
The process of neuropsychological evaluation can vary based upon the complexity of the referral question. Generally, Dr. Sanchez's approach to evaluation involves a clinical interview, one evaluation session, and a feedback session (if appropriate). When a feedback session is indicated, our office will attempt to schedule a convenient time for patients/parents/guardians, usually within 2-3 weeks of the last evaluation session.
Often the goal of school assessments is extremely narrow in focus and is targeted towards identifying whether or not a child is eligible for special education programs or therapies to improve school performance. Additionally, school assessment focuses upon achievement and skills that are needed to achieve academic success. Generally, educational assessments do not diagnose learning or behavior disorders caused by altered brain function or development due to the limited purpose of the testing process.
If your child is experiencing specific learning, emotional, behavioral, social, or cognitive challenges, unfortunately, the school assessment can be a very small piece of the bigger picture.
Yes. Dr. Sanchez has specific expertise in assessing the emerging skills of children in this age range. However, the evaluation of infants and preschool children often requires a shorter evaluation time because children at this stage have not yet developed many higher-order cognitive skills.