According to the National Academy of Neuropsychology, a clinical neuropsychologist is “a professional within the field of clinical psychology with special expertise in the applied science of brain-behavior relationships. A neuropsychologist typically has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and additional training in the specialty field of clinical neuropsychology."
Unlike CT or MRI scans and EEG's which show abnormalities in the structure of the brain, neuropsychological assessment is used to show the ways in which a person can or cannot perform certain functions or tasks that are dependent upon brain activity. Impairment in many of these functions may exist because of brain abnormalities that cannot be detected on brain scans. Therefore, neuropsychological assessment is a procedure with a unique purpose: it can be used to reveal or diagnose brain dysfunction when no structural brain abnormalities can be seen. Furthermore, when structural abnormalities have been found, neuropsychological assessment provides a way to determine what functions may be impaired because of the defects, and to determine the degree to which they may be impaired. (Taken from “What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation” from the National Academy of Neuropsychology, 2001.)
Therefore, a neuropsychological evaluation can be used to:
These evaluations are also used to determine neurocognitive deficits in patients with medical conditions such as cerebrovascular conditions such as strokes or aneurisms, head injuries, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, neurotoxic exposure, brain tumors, dementia, and encephalopathy.
A neuropsychological evaluation typically includes the use of standardized tests that are sensitive to the effects of brain dysfunction. Depending on the referral questions presented, the components of a neuropsychological evaluation can include tests which assess:
Neuropsychological evaluations also include family interviews, fields observations, and a review of medical records. Consultation with other medical professionals such as physicians, physical therapists, and speech pathologists is common.
A typical evaluation consists of 4-8 hours of testing, interviews, consultations, and a feedback session. Test scoring and intensive data analysis are also billable hours. The exact time involved in each evaluation is individualized and based on an examinee’s needs and the presenting areas of concern.
In addition, as a consultant on medical rehabilitation units Dr. Borchardt assists with discharge planning, vocational rehabilitation and planning, and competency evaluations.
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