Why Your Child Should Have a Neuropsychological Evaluation

Why should my child have a neuropsychological evaluation? Some parents also refer to this type of evaluation as a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation.

Children are referred to psychologists for evaluations for many different reasons. Some children are having difficulty with their behavior in the classroom, while others are not focusing or concentrating as they should, and others are having difficulty with aspects of reading, writing, or mathematics. Children with medical (migraine disorder)/neurological (tic disorder)/or neuro-Atypical (Autism Spectrum Disorder) conditions will also benefit from a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation.

Child frustrated with learning may benefit from a neuropsychological assessment.
Child frustrated with learning may benefit from a neuropsychological assessment.

A neuropsychological evaluation can help identify the child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses and learning preferences. The results of the evaluation will indicate if the child meets criteria for a diagnosis such as a specific learning disability, an attention-related disorder (ADHD), and anxiety or mood disorder, or other behavioral concern. When children meet criteria for qualifying diagnosis, they are able to receive specific academic accommodations including but not limited to additional time in the classroom, use of alternative learning methods and instructional techniques, as well as testing in a quieter location in order to foster concentration and focus.

A neuropsychological evaluation is a comprehensive look at the child’s psychological, cognitive, and emotional/behavioral aspects of their presentation. The evaluation assesses the following areas: verbal reasoning skills, nonverbal reasoning skills, working memory skills, information processing speed, language and phonological processes, specific reading skills, specific mathematics skills, specific writing skills, audio verbal memory capacity, visual memory capacity, and executive functioning skills such as novel problem-solving, attention, and mental flexibility.

A thorough psychological evaluation is also included. The examiner conducts collateral interviews with the parents, a clinical interview with the child. When given permission, the examiner can also speak with the teachers in the classroom. Adults and children also complete objective psychological measures regarding the child’s observe behaviors.

All of these data points are integrated and provided in a comprehensive report that includes diagnosis, recommendations, and academic accommodations if any are indicated. Parents use these reports to request a meeting with the school to help determine the child’s placement and implement the recommended accommodations.

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Dr. Kaia Calbeck

Dr. Kaia Calbeck underwent her doctoral training at the University of Miami’s Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Her dissertation received a prestigious Award of Academic Merit. She began her graduate studies at the University of Kentucky, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology.

Dr. Calbeck started her academic career at the University of Florida, where she graduated Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She majored in Psychology, with a minor in Anthropology, and an outside concentration in Dance Performance.

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