Clinical neuropsychology examines the relationship between brain anatomy and cognitive abilities such as attention/concentration, memory, problem solving and language, and how these abilities may be affected by injury or disease.
Clinical neuropsychology is a specialty profession that focuses on brain functioning. A clinical neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist with specialty training in how behavior and skills are related to brain structures and systems. In clinical neuropsychology, brain function is evaluated by objectively testing memory and thinking skills. A very detailed assessment of abilities is done, and the pattern of strengths and weaknesses is used in important health care areas, such as diagnosis and treatment planning. The clinical neuropsychologist conducts the evaluation and makes recommendations.
A Carle neuropsychologist conducts this type of evaluation to learn how the brain is functioning. The evaluation typically involves an interview with you and your family or caregivers to understand your current concerns and relevant history, followed by completion of cognitive testing.
Depending on the reason for your visit, you will complete a series of tasks determined by our neuropsychologist and administered by our psychometrist, a professional trained to administer and score neuropsychological tests. The tasks used are non-invasive and typically include pencil-and-paper, question and answer, and some computer-based tasks.
The length of evaluation varies depending on the referral question. You should be prepared to complete between four to six hours of testing and interview. In rare cases it might take longer. The typical examination usually lasts for four to five hours, broken into a one-hour interview and three to four hours of testing. A one-hour lunch break is provided for patients who require longer, which is any evaluation that may take five or more hours. Please try to get a good night's sleep the night prior to testing and plan ahead to have a meal prior to your appointment. We encourage you to bring drinks or snacks.
Our goal is to complete the testing portion of the evaluation in one day, especially if you are traveling to the Clinic from several hours away. Be sure to bring your eyeglasses, hearing aids, or any other needed assistive devices or medications to the appointment.
In addition, you should bring any previous testing/evaluations done by outside providers or testing from school or IEP/504 plan to the appointment.
Your performance is compared to performance data from a normative group, which is a group of people similar to you (i.e., the same age, gender, and/or level of education as you) at your baseline ability level that also completed the same tasks.
The neuropsychologist will discuss test results with you and your family or caregivers at a follow-up appointment, usually scheduled for one to two weeks following the evaluation appointment. Your neuropsychologist will discuss your diagnosis and recommendations that can help you to best make use of your pattern of cognitive strengths. They may recommend different ways of approaching tasks or other behavioral recommendations. They may also suggest that you see other specialty care professionals for interventions, medications or other medical treatments.
A report will be provided to your referring physician. The report will also be placed in your medical record but will not be available in MyCarle.
Note: This service does not evaluate primary referral questions related to autism spectrum disorders or psychiatric symptoms.
With doctors practicing in 80 specialties at locations throughout the region, it’s easy to find the right healthcare team at Carle. Our mission is to serve people through high quality care, medical research and education.