A neuropsychological assessment is recommended in cases where brain-based impairment in cognitive function or behavior is suspected. Through a neuropsychological assessment, we can assess the extent of injury and then use that information to build an effective treatment plan, and track your progress. More importantly, it will help maximise your chances for a successful, and sustainable recovery.

What is a Neuropsychological Assessment?

A neuropsychological assessment involves a comprehensive test of cognitive and behavioral functions using a set of standardised tests and procedures, plus a clinical interview.

The testing process systematically assess various mental functions including:

  • Intelligence
  • Problem solving and conceptualisation
  • Planning and organisation
  • Attention, memory, and learning
  • Language
  • Academic skills
  • Perceptual and motor abilities
  • Emotions, behavior, and personality

Not all neuropsychological assessments are the same; some are brief and others are comprehensive, and within each of these groups a different series of assessment tasks are selected depending on the presenting concerns and the purpose of the assessment.

A neuropsychological assessment is recommended in cases where brain-based impairment in cognitive function or behavior is suspected. Referrals are usually made to our neuropsychologists to diagnose (or rule out) the following conditions, and/or for the following reasons:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Strokes
  • Developmental learning disabilities
  • Attention deficit disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Dementia and memory concerns
  • Return-to-work/education/driving decisions
  • Monitoring neurodegenerative disorders
  • Treatment planning and rehabilitation
  • Neuroeducation (i.e. education about brain function)
  • Assessment of decision-making capacity (e.g. Power of Attorney and wills)
  • Medicolegal assessment (see more information below)

What happens in the assessment appointment?

Generally, a neuropsychological assessment involves a wide variety of tasks, most of which are completed sitting at a table (or at bedside if you are in hospital). There are no invasive procedures, no pain, no needles or electrodes. A comprehensive evaluation can take between 3 and 6 hours of face-to-face contact, but this can vary depending on the presenting concerns and the purpose of the assessment. The assessment can be conducted over one appointment with several breaks, or if required, over a series of appointments.

Following the assessment, the neuropsychologist spends several hours interpreting the results and writing a report to communicate the assessment findings and outlining recommendations for future care.

A verbal feedback session will also be scheduled between the neuropsychologist and the person tested, and supporting family members if appropriate. This appointment will be used to discuss the findings of the assessment and what future care will involve.

Neuropsychological rehabilitation

A brain injury can lead to changes in a person’s thinking skills, emotions, behaviour and social relationships, which can range from mild to severe in nature. Neuropsychological rehabilitation is a holistic approach and aims to reduce the impact of a brain injury or brain impairment on an individual’s life through an accurate assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, and applying this information to:

  1. Develop appropriate ways to enable the individual to adapt and compensate for changes in thinking, behaviour, emotions and social functioning
  2. Maximize the individual’s autonomy and participation in daily activities, which may include educational and vocational pursuits and social relationships

Medicolegal services

We are available to discuss referrals related to the following presenting concerns:

  • Personal injury matters (e.g. nature/severity of an emotional difficulty resulting from an accident or injury)
  • Work-related injury matters (e.g. personal injury or brain injury)
  • Employment-related matters (e.g. capacity to work, barriers to progress, treatment needs)
  • Decision-making capacity (e.g. in relation to managing financial affairs, appointing an enduring Power of Attorney, guardianship, medical treatment, or changing a will)

Child neuropsychology services

A neuropsychological assessment often assists in maximising learning and development of students with learning and/or behavioural difficulties by providing:

  • A better understanding of their cognitive strengths and weaknesses
  • Strategies for collaborative support and a learning plan that considers the student’s needs in the context of the specific resources available at school and home

Neuropsychological services offered at VCPS include assessment and intervention for students aged 6 to 18. Parents or guardians, teachers, GPs and other health professionals can make referrals. Assessments are individually tailored to the student’s needs and include an initial face to face interview, phone calls to teachers or others, pencil and paper tests to assess the child’s thinking and learning abilities, test scoring and interpretation, and provision of feedback including a written report.

Government initiatives and rebates for child neuropsychology services

Rebates include Medicare subsidies:

(1) Helping Children with Autism package

(2) Better Start for Children with Disabilities program

Children who are already receiving support under the Helping Children with Autism program may be eligible to receive psychological assessment and treatment services as part of their package. Please see the Department of Health and Ageing for further information on accessing services through this program.

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