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 expertise 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. He or she may also provide treatment, such as cognitive rehabilitation, behavior management, or psychotherapy.
Neuropsychologists evaluate the following conditions when there is a primary cognitive question:
- Perceived declines in attention/concentration, multitasking, problem solving, memory, visual-spatial abilities, or language functions
- Age-related cognitive changes, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia
- Medical conditions that may have associated cognitive symptoms, such as heart failure, chronic pain, thyroid disorders, etc.
- Traumatic brain injury
- Post-stroke cognitive status
- ADHD and other difficulties with Executive Functions (planning, organization, problem solving)
- Cognitive changes associated with neurological conditions such as brain tumor, epilepsy or multiple sclerosis
A 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 the neuropsychologist and administered by a 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 and eight hours of testing and interview. A 1-hour lunch break is provided is necessary. 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.
If you are traveling to the Clinic from several hours away, please let us know so we can try to complete the testing portion of the evaluation in one day. Be sure to bring your eyeglasses, hearing aids, or any other needed assistive devices or medications to the appointment.
In addition, patients 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, that is, a group of people similar to you at your baseline ability level that also completed the same tasks. This will help us understand how your results deviate from what constitutes your "normal" or expected performance.
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 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 medications or other medical treatments.
A report will be provided to your referring physician. The report will also be placed in your medical record.
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Urbana (Main Campus)
611 W. Park Street
Urbana, IL 61801