Our Staff are Caring and Willing to Answer Any Questions
What is a neuropsychological evaluation? How does this differ from a psychological evaluation? How does it differ from educational evaluations and screenings?
A neuropsychological evaluation is considered the “gold standard” of determining how the brain “thinks”. Various areas of cognitive functioning, including verbal and visual-spatial skills, memory, attention and concentration, organization and other executive functions are assessed. In addition, this evaluation includes measures of emotional functioning and tests of academic achievement.
A psychological evaluation may include select tests of cognitive functioning, but the areas of performance are more limited compared to a full neuropsychological evaluation. In a psychological evaluation, emotional functioning is the main focus of the assessment. Measures are completed to help determine the presence of anxiety, mood disorders, or other more severe psychological diagnoses in order to guide treatment.
Educational screenings completed by many “learning centers” tend to be limited in scope. These centers focus on academic areas, such as reading or math abilities, however, the screenings lack the ability to determine underlying causes for the identified difficulties. While an assessment at a learning center may be able to show a child has reading problems, the reason (learning disorder, ADHD, cognitive dysfunction) for the problems cannot be determined from the screenings. This can impact how effective interventions may be when implemented by parents or other providers.
Does insurance cover the evaluation?
Most do, but he will depend on the individual insurance policy and the type of service requested. Our office staff will discuss available services and take the person’s insurance information in order to check insurance benefits prior to the initial appointment.
Private pay options are also available. A discount is offered when the full amount of the evaluation is paid on the day of testing. Payment plans may be arranged with the practice at the time of the initial appointment.
What should I expect on the day of evaluation? What do I need to bring with me on the day of testing?
During the initial appointment the psychologist will meet with the patient, and in the case of children, the parents/guardians also. This appointment will allow for the patient to meet the clinician, discuss concerns and reasons for the evaluation, and for the clinician to acquire important background information. At this appointment it will important to have the insurance card and identification card. Patients and/or caregivers should complete the background information form prior to the initial appointment. Both adult and child versions are available for download from the practice website. If necessary, forms can be mailed to the patient for completion prior to the appointment.
During the second appointment the client and psychologist will complete the formal testing. This process can take several hours, but is usually completed in one day. Depending on various patient factors (fatigue, illness, etc), a second day of testing may be scheduled on an as needed basis.
For children 11 years old and younger, an adult must be present on site for the entire testing. Children between 12 and 17 years old can be dropped off and picked up after the evaluation, but a contact number is required in case of emergency.
Will I get the results of the testing the same day?
Evaluations completed by this practice are lengthy and in-depth, therefore, results of the testing cannot be provided the same day. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled with the clinician to allow the patient and/or family to review the results and treatment recommendations.
Who receives the evaluation results?
The practice will not release evaluation results to anyone not designated by the patient or parent/guardian on the Release of Information. Insurance companies require proof of medical necessity and continuity of medical care for benefit coverage. Release of a copy of the evaluation to the individual’s family physician, internist, or referring medical professional usually fulfills this requirement.
In most situations, test results are not released directly to the school system. Parents will be provided with a copy of the evaluation, including recommendations, to share with treatment providers and educational settings.
What happens if a diagnosis is made? Will I or my child have to go on medication?
Depending on the results of the evaluation, there may be times when medication management is one of the recommendations provided by the clinician. This is discussed on an individual basis with the patient or parent/guardian. If medication is decided upon as part of the treatment plan, this is handled by the individual’s physician. Edelson and Associates do not have a physician on staff to provide medication management.