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Frequently Asked Questions


What is a neuropsychological assessment?

Neuropsychological assessments focus on understanding brain functioning and involve testing cognitive (i.e., thinking) skills. Assessments provide information about the pattern of a persons’ strengths and weaknesses in relation to their specific cognitive abilities (e.g., memory, planning, problem solving etc.). This pattern is then examined to assist with obtaining a diagnosis and provide recommendations in relation to treatment planning (e.g., to assist with rehabilitation, work, academic studies and general functioning in daily life).

Who would benefit from a neuropsychological assessment?

Neuropsychological assessments are particularly useful for individuals with:

  • Neurological disorders, e.g., Spina Bifida, Dementia, Huntington Disease, Parkinson’s Disease
  • Learning disorders, e.g., Dyslexia, Mathematics Learning Disorder
  • Developmental disorders, e.g., Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Brain injuries, e.g., Acquired Brain Injury, Stroke, Brain Tumours
  • Exposure to toxins, or drug and alcohol use

Who will do the assessment?

Dr Simone Shaw is a tertiary qualified clinical neuropsychologist and will conduct the assessment. Neuropsychologists are psychologists who have completed specialist training in understanding how the brain functions and the complex interaction with how brain functioning affects a person’s thinking, emotions and behaviour.

What will the assessment examine?

A comprehensive neuropsychological assessment will evaluate a range of cognitive skills, including:

  • General intelligence
  • Higher level executive skills (e.g., the ability to solve complex problems)
  • Attention and concentration
  • Learning and memory
  • Language
  • Visual-spatial skills (e.g., the ability to accurately recognise and manipulate various objects)
  • Motor and sensory skills (e.g., the ability to quickly complete tasks)
  • Mood and personality

What is involved?

The neuropsychological assessment consists of a clinical interview and administration of pencil-and-paper tests. During the interview, information will be discussed such as current symptoms, medical history, medications and other important details relating to the presenting concerns. Testing involves taking paper-and-pencil tests and answering questions. Some tests are easy while others are more complex.

How long will the assessment take?

A comprehensive neuropsychological assessment will take around four hours to complete. Simone will spend time with you:

  • Getting background information (e.g., current symptoms, medical history, medications etc.)
  • Talking to you about your current goals and problems or concerns you may be experiencing
  • Asking you to complete a range of tasks such as solving problems, answering questions, remembering things, etc.

Most people find the assessment interesting and worthwhile. Some can find it tiring, so if needed, short breaks can be given or a number of shorter sessions can be arranged.

What happens next?

Once the assessment is completed, Simone will review all the information that has been gathered and provide feedback either directly to you, or to others involved in your care (e.g., your doctor or case manager). This feedback will include a report detailing information about:

  • Your strengths and difficulties and their impact on your life
  • Possible ways to assist with areas of difficulty

You can also arrange for additional follow up sessions to discuss practical strategies to manage the areas of difficulty that were identified/confirmed during the assessment.

 

 


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