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The significant aspects of child neuropsychology and reasons why evaluation should be done

The human brain is probably the most important part of the body, but understanding the intricate ways in which a person’s brain may work is quite complicated. The study of brain functions is called neuroscience, and it is quite a vast field as it deals with the structure and function of brain and the nervous […]

The human brain is probably the most important part of the body, but understanding the intricate ways in which a person’s brain may work is quite complicated. The study of brain functions is called neuroscience, and it is quite a vast field as it deals with the structure and function of brain and the nervous system. Our brain has billions of neurons that are responsible for carrying all the signals to and from the brain to all parts of the body. Our brain is connected to every organ, and even a minute pain in a little part of the body is felt and registered in the brain. Our brain is constantly sending and receiving signals and controls not only the physical actions that a person takes but also the physiological actions happening inside the body.

The term ‘neuropsychology’ is used to explain the link between the function of the brain and human behavior. Neuropsychology deals with the study of changes that occur in the brain and how a person body responds to them. The health of a person’s brain is directly affected the ability of a person to perform things, understand and take decisions, remember, and pay attention. The qualified doctors who perform neuropsychology are called neuropsychologist, and they tend to diagnose, treat, and evaluate the way a person may think and act and how the brain works. The neuropsychologist has a special understanding of how the brain and behavior/cognitive function are interconnected. The special focus of the neuropsychologist is to identify, diagnose, and treat the neurological disorders and other problems which may affect the health and ability of a person.

Unfortunately, many of the neurological disorders are diagnosed early in childhood and noticed by parents when their child lacks certain ability to perform things. The pediatric neuropsychologist has necessary education and training to perform both clinical psychology and neuropsychology. The pediatric neuropsychologist uses their training and understanding to identify, treat, and evaluate children who either have neurological disorders who other psychological issues. The problems that children are commonly related to certain brain injury, a medical illness, or issues with development of the brain. The pediatric neuropsychologist provides considerable help and support to the parents and teachers by

  • Making them realize how the problem with the child’s brain may be affecting his behavior and attitude in home and school.
  • Informing them about the behavior and cognitive problems the child may be feeling
  • Identifying the problems and giving the right treatment, which can be either medication or different therapy session.
  • Noticing the strengths and weaknesses of the child
  • Developing the best treatment for the child and then evaluating the result and progress made by the child.

A neuropsychological evaluation is done in child neuropsychology and counseling center where neuropsychologist has an assessment of the child’s brain, which will provide information on the structural and functional integrity of the. The neuropsychological evaluation is an interview and a series of test to know how a child performs to pertinent questions and scenarios. The test is done on paper, and the child is free to answer the questions. The scores of the child in different tests are interpreted by the pediatric neuropsychologist who determines whether the performance of the child in particular task is a strength or weakness. The test results help the pediatric neuropsychologist to understand how the brain of the child functions and what treatment or therapy should be advised.

The neuropsychological evaluation is best for your child if he/she

  • Is suffering from a neurological disorder such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, brain tumor, or neurofibromatosis.
  • Has common issues which include emotional, motor skills, memory, visual-spatial, and adaptive functioning. 
  • Has encountered any brain injury due to either a stroke, an infection, trauma to the head or lack of oxygen
  • Have other medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, certain genetic disorders, or chronic heart
  • Are exposed to inhalants, street drugs, and smoking
  • Have shown the problem in understanding little things and taking time making decisions
  • Have shown a tendency to disorders such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, and learning disability

The pediatric neuropsychologist will suggest neuropsychological assessment which would help to

  • Confirm a diagnosis or deem the child normal
  • Understand the child’s behavior before treatment and after with medicine or therapy
  • Record the needs of the child and how a reliable and beneficial treatment can be developed and administered

The test that the child is asked to take in child neuropsychology and counseling center is mostly used to measure numerous aspects which include intelligence, language, memory, problem-solving skills, academic skills, motor skills, hand movements, depression and stress, visual perception, and social skills. The pediatric neuropsychologist will analyze the school record and medical history of the child to know about the child and how he normally behaves and function in home and school.

The school also evaluate the child, but the tests are more focused on the academic side of things and designed to know if the child lacks in skills regarding reading, comprehending, solving mathematics problems, or memorizing things. The neuropsychologist has years of training, which also helps to identify other areas which may be affecting the child such as stress, emotional, and social problems. The parents are key in timely identifying the signs and symptoms that suggest their child may be experiencing some neurological problem. The parents may be concerned in the following aspects 

  • Cognitive

The child showing difficulty in problem-solving and with verbal/non-verbal reasoning. The child taking considerable time to learn and do the work

  • Language

The child has problem understanding the language and engaging in a meaningful conversation. The child is also not comprehending the meaning of commonly used phrases and proverbs. The child repeating scripts and lines they have picked up by watching the television

  • Academic

The child not performing well in class and getting below-average grades. The child also showing weakness in different aspects such as reading, writing, and solving math problems. The child getting frustrated and taking additional time to do the classwork and homework.

  • Social

The child is having poor relations with other classmates and his peers. The child not participating in playful activities and spending his time alone.

  • Motor and Visual-spatial

Poor and unclear handwriting. The child is having issues such as tying shoelaces, zipping the pants, buttoning the shirt, and unwrapping small things. The child having trouble writing down words dictated by the class teacher. One of the common issues is child feeling overwhelmed with multiple images, and a book filled pictures and color.

The pediatric neuropsychologist will first have a detailed interview with the parents and teachers about the medical, developmental, emotional, social, and learning problem that the child may be experiencing. The neuropsychologist will also note if any previous or ongoing medication or treatment has been given to the child or not. Brief family history is also asked, which helps the neuropsychologist to evaluate the child better. The tests are given to know the IQ, adaptive behavior, and academic ability. The main purpose of neuropsychological evaluation is to help child overcome his difficulties and perform according to his/her abilities.

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