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The Benefit of Neuropsychological and Psychological Testing

A guide to how neuropsychological and psychological testing can help you or your child get the treatment they deserve.
The brain is a complex organ. It is the center of our cognition, emotions, and our automatic functions. While psychologists and counselors are trained to treat mental disorders, there are times when additional testing might be needed to further understand the functioning of a person’s brain. Disorders such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity (ADHD), Autism (ASD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and other brain conditions like dementia or learning disabilities can be assessed using neuropsychological and psychological testing and evaluations.

This article looks at the benefits of such neuropsychological and psychological testing in therapy. It also discusses the different types of neuropsychological assessments that can be used to better understand yourself or your child. Continue reading to learn more about how Aspire Neuropsychological Services can bring more information to your treatment options with testing and assessments. Aspire is pleased to be your provider for neuropsychological assessments in Walnut Creek. Keep reading to learn more or contact us to get started today.

Why we use neuropsychological and psychological testing

We use assessments to have an accurate diagnosis. Problems with cognitive or executive functioning cannot be measured in a blood test or in a machine such as an x-ray or MRI. Instead, a mental health professional will need to assess a person’s symptoms using a battery of questions. Another reason we use assessments in mental health practice is because sometimes, typical talk therapy is not enough to help a person manage their symptoms. In these scenarios, it could be that difficulties in life are due to the way a person’s brain is organized, which points to unique ways in how a person processes information.

How accurate are assessments?

Clinical interview questions are part of a larger assessment that is designed to find symptoms or features that might point to a general theme. Rest assured that the psychological assessments we use have undergone repeated testing to ensure they are valid and evidence-based. This means that the assessment interview is designed to measure what it intends to measure and it is a reliable tool to use. Research has shown that evidence based assessments have roughly the same accuracy as many medical tests.

therapist takes notes during neuropsychological and psychological testing appointment

How assessments are used in treatment

Neuropsychological and psychological testing helps clinicians provide treatment that is personalized to the care you or your child needs. Below are different ways that an assessment may bring forth more understanding of the way a person’s brain functions:
  • Identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses which may impact daily responsibilities
  • Identify the presence and severity of cognitive deficits
  • Provide more information on a diagnosis or differentiate from other diagnoses
  • Provide an outlook for a certain condition (prognosis)
  • Determine eligibility for accommodations in work or learning environments

What kinds of neuropsychological and psychological testing assessments are there?

There is a specific assessment for the symptoms you or your child experiences. Whether an individual is falling behind in school; having grades that reflect a difference in the person’s ability to learn; trouble connecting with others and fostering friendships, there may be an assessment that can be used to determine a bigger picture issue. Below are some examples of neuropsychological assessments we offer at Aspire Neuropsychological Services from our location in Walnut Creek:
  • testing for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD or ADHD)
  • testing for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • testing for learning disabilities
  • behavioral medicine health assessment

How long does an assessment take?

The time it will take for a clinician to complete your or your child’s assessment depends on a couple considerations. To begin, it depends on the assessment you are taking for the issue being considered. Some assessments take an average of an hour to complete while others may take upwards of 6 hours. Additionally, the test administrator may require a history of your or your child’s school grades, medical history, or other records depending on the evaluation you will be taking. Your administrator will go over details of the assessment with you and your child so you are properly prepared for your evaluation.

Preparing for your neuropsychological assessments in Walnut Creek

Before you take your assessment, you will want to be sure you are well rested and fed. Getting a good night’s rest isn’t just common sense. There is plenty of research out there that speaks to how important sleep is for learning and our brain function. Similarly, we can’t concentrate as well as we normally can if we aren’t well nourished. Be sure to eat something before you take your neuropsychological evaluation. Stress can also impact our brain’s functioning, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to make it to your appointment. Showing up early will give you extra time to settle in and fill out any necessary paperwork. Lastly, please bring a list of any medications you are currently taking as well as your insurance card if you plan to use your insurance.
a woman waits with her son for a neuropsychological and psychological testing appointment

If you believe you or your child would benefit from our neuropsychological assessments in Walnut Creek, please contact us today to get started. Your provider, Dr. Keiko Miller, is both Aspire Neuropsychological Services’ founder and a neuropsychologist with extensive experience in neuropsychological and psychological testing and evaluations of adults and children ages 12 months and older. We hope to connect with you soon and provide you the insight necessary to develop a treatment plan that works for you!