1. When is a neuropsychological evaluation in your child’s best interests?

A neuropsychological evaluation can be helpful when you suspect your child may have an emerging learning disability, an attentional disorder, a global developmental delay, a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) or autistic spectrum disorder, behavioral problems, a neuromotor delay, or language and communication delays. It is also used when anxiety or social/emotional difficulties are getting in the way of your child’s functioning or when you are seeking to better understand your child’s functioning in the face of neurologic disease (e.g., epilepsy or Lyme’s Disease).

Some examples of when a neuropsychological evaluation is recommended include when:

  • Your child is struggling in school or on standardized tests.
  • There is a large disparity between your child’s potential or effort and how your child is performing in school.
  • Your child displays difficulties with learning or memory.
  • It is unclear why your child is struggling.
  • Your child has a history of neurological difficulty.
  • Your child has a history of developmental delay (e.g., delayed language or motor activity).
  • Your child has suffered a traumatic brain injury.
  • Your child has suffered any toxic exposure (e.g., lead poisoning, alcohol).
  • You think your child may be gifted.
  • You wish to document any changes in your child’s abilities or achievement since prior evaluations.

It is understandable that pursuing a neuropsychological evaluation for your child seems very anxiety-provoking, and for that reason alone, many families fear and avoid this initial step. There is an understandable desire to take a “wait and see” approach, hoping that your child develops without enlisting the help of highly trained experts. But, it is important to know that evaluating your child is best done as early as possible. Nearly all professionals agree that early intervention plays a significant and vital part in the treatment of a child’s developmental needs and long-term progress.

2. What does a neuropsychological evaluation consist of?

Dr. Schwartz personally handles each component of the neuropsychological evaluation, which consists of the following components:

{ Initial Intake Session }: A complete history and understanding is gained during this 45-minute session.

{ Evaluation }: If an evaluation is determined to be in your child’s best interests, evaluation sessions are scheduled. The actual evaluation typically takes several hours and may spread across several sessions, depending on the age of your child. The assessment is very interactive and involves paper and pencil tasks, hands-on activities, answering questions, and sometimes using a computer.

During the course of the evaluation, the following areas are typically assessed:

  • Intelligence / Cognitive Skills
  • Academic Skills
  • Attention / Concentration
  • Learning and Memory
  • Language and Communication Skills
  • Perceptual / Spatial Skills
  • Motor Skills
  • Social Interaction Skills
  • Play Skills
  • Adaptive Functional Skills
  • Social-emotional Skills
  • Behavior

{ Feedback Session }: Approximately two weeks after the last testing session, a feedback session is scheduled, at which each test that your child completed and the results achieved are explained, what each test means conceptually and diagnostically is discussed, and, most importantly, the rationale behind each recommendation is appreciated.

{ Report }: A comprehensive written report follows the feedback session that sets forth your child’s test results and corresponding diagnostic findings, along with a detailed set of recommendations as to how your child’s individual needs will best be met.

3. What will the evaluation tell me about my child?

The purpose of the neuropsychological evaluation is to provide deeper knowledge of your child’s unique profile of strengths and weaknesses. In doing so, this illuminates how your child learns best and what may be getting in the way of your child’s functioning at his or her fullest potential, whether academically, socially, emotionally, or behaviorally. Once your child’s own unique profile is understood, recommendations can be made for direct interventions, accommodations, and various supports at home and at school to assist your child in optimizing his/her learning and successful development. The knowledge that emerges from the neuropsychological evaluation is employed to design intervention and remediation strategies specifically tailored to your child’s learning style. The written report itself is an invaluable tool to support the development and educational progress of your child.

4. What are some of the benefits of an evaluation?

Some of the benefits of an evaluation include:

Gaining a greater understanding of your child’s learning and behavioral style.
Explaining why your child is having difficulties in school. For example, a child may have difficulty reading because of an attention problem, a language disorder, an auditory processing problem, or an actual reading disability. An evaluation can unravel why your child is experiencing problems.
Determining whether your child qualifies for accommodations on standardized tests.
Determining whether your child qualifies for special education services.
Obtaining recommendations that will help your child learn to compensate for any difficulties.
Assessing the effectiveness of current treatments and interventions, and determining whether academic difficulties are due to cognitive problems, motivational difficulties, a learning disability, or psychiatric problems.
Detecting the effects of developmental, neurological and/or medical problems on cognitive and emotional functioning (e.g., epilepsy, autistic spectrum disorder, ADHD, dyslexia or a genetic disorder).
Obtaining a baseline against which to measure outcome of treatment or the child’s development over time.

5. Do you accept insurance and how much do your services cost?

Dr. Schwartz does not accept insurance directly and is an out-of-network provider with insurance companies. Many health insurance companies will pay for some portion of consultations or neuropsychological evaluations. However, because Dr. Schwartz does not bill insurance companies directly, payment is expected from clients at the time of service.

With regard to specific fees, each situation is unique and Dr. Schwartz tailors her services accordingly to offer the most appropriate services to meet each client’s needs.