Behavioral Health Focus: What are Neuropsychological Evaluations?

Neuropsychological testing is conducted to determine an individual’s cognitive performance in certain environments. OCH psychologist Annie Powers, PsyD breaks down circumstances in which this type of evaluation is used and shares how each can assist with the following diagnoses:

Diagnosis: Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD)

Neuropsychological testing is conducted to determine whether or not a diagnosis exists (in order to guide and direct treatment for the individual). Per testing results, specific recommendations can be made to the child or adult’s school or employer in order to assist in harnessing attention and concentration. Testing may also be used to determine whether or not the individual will be efficient and effective in his or her current environment.

Individuals diagnosed with ADHD may also have a learning disability which could impact their ability to learn new information. Neuropsych testing can determine whether or not an individual meets the American Disability Act standards. Additionally, during neurospcyh testing, emotional components are also addressed (as communication and relationship issues may exist).   

Diagnosis: Dementia

Testing is conducted with individuals to determine whether or not there is a loss in cognitive processes, short-term and long-term memory, visual and auditory memory, and the individual’s ability to learn new information. Testing is also conducted to help determine a more specific diagnosis (verify whether or not an individual’s pattern fits a known pattern for a specific type of dementia such as Alzheimer’s or Vascular dementia).

Diagnosis: Learning Disability

This type of testing is conducted to determine specific areas that a patient may be impaired (auditory or visual processing). It evaluates basic educational skills (reading, math, and spelling) as well as traditional intellectual functioning. Individuals with a learning disability may also have ADHD which will impact their ability to learn new information. As a result, recommendations can then be made to employers, schools, colleges, or for individuals who are pursuing vocational retraining.

Diagnosis: Cognitive Testing

This testing is conducted when there is a question regarding a patient’s  disability or ability to manage their own affairs, make appropriate decisions, remain gainfully employed, determine appropriateness of appointing a guardian, etc.      

Annie Powers, PsyD works at Ozarks Community Hospital in Springfield. She received her education from the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology and completed her residency at Burrell Behavioral Health. To contact Dr. Powers, call(417) 875-4682 – Specialty Office.

Testing listed above is available at Ozarks Community Hospital with Dr. Thomas Blansett, Dr. Stephen Belk and Dr. Jason Glass.  

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