Neurological disorders and injuries that affect the brain, including developmental problems and injury from an accident or birth trauma, can influence the way a child thinks, learns, and behaves, and how a child expresses emotions.
Our team offers advanced diagnostic evaluation for children and teenagers referred by parents, teachers, or doctors who have concerns about a patient’s cognitive abilities and attention, response in social interactions, and ability to control emotions or behaviors.
To identify complications potentially related to a neurological disorder or injury, we perform a comprehensive evaluation that includes an assessment of the child’s functioning in a number of areas, such as:
- Academic achievement skills
- Attention/ concentration
- Emotional functioning
- Executive functions, such as organization, planning, and self-regulation
- General intellectual abilities
- Language-related processing
- Learning and memory functions
- Motor/sensory capacities
- Social cognition
- Visual/nonverbal processing
How an Evaluation is Helpful
We use an evaluation to understand each patient’s individual concerns. We use the results to identify strategies and effective interventions that enable children and teenagers to realize their full potential.
An evaluation can help families, schools, and treating professionals in several ways:
- Testing can reveal why a child is having a particular problem. For example, a child may have difficulty in school, such as trouble focusing, evaluation could indicate a learning disability, and behavioral or emotional problems. The neuropsychological evaluation identifies the underlying problem so we can thoroughly treat the cause in addition to the observable and obvious effects.
- We often use neuropsychological testing to diagnose Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (also called Attention Deficit Disorder), learning disabilities, or other brain-based developmental problem. An evaluation provides information that goes beyond a diagnosis to include a unique profile of strengths and weaknesses in each child, and what that means for treatment.
- Testing is useful to detect the specific cognitive effects of a medical condition such as epilepsy, tumor, leukemia, stroke, traumatic brain injury, genetic disorder, or developmental disorder. A neuropsychological evaluation can help determine exactly what the impact of the disorder is on the child’s brain function and how a child processes information. We perform evaluations to obtain a baseline (the initial diagnosis) and monitor the effects of treatment over time.
- Most important, neuropsychological evaluation provides you with a better understanding of your child’s behavior and learning. An evaluation helps guide parents, teachers, and others on how to maximize a child’s strengths and support areas of weakness. We can generally provide recommendations for:
- Parenting strategies for working with your child
- Teaching and educational assistance, including consultations with schools for developing an Individual Education Plan or 504 Plan (requirements for students under the federal Rehabilitation Act)
- Ways to help your child be more successful socially
- Strategies older children and adolescents can use themselves
If your child needs to see another specialist for services such as psychological therapy, medication, tutoring, speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, and medical care, our team coordinates referrals to other professionals at Children’s National or in the community.
About the Evaluation Process
We can usually complete testing in one day, but make adjustments as needed depending on the child’s age and functioning.
One of our neuropsychologists spends time with you and your child to learn more about your child’s history, observe and interview your child, and conduct related testing. Testing involves hands-on and paper and pencil activities, and an interview. We also ask parents, teachers, and older children to fill out questionnaires about the patient’s behavior.
To prepare for the evaluation:
- Please bring or send the neuropsychologist any previous testing, school Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan if your child has one, recent report cards, and relevant medical records.
- Make sure your child has plenty of rest and eats a good breakfast before the evaluation.
- If your child usually wears glasses or uses hearing aides or any other device, make sure to bring them as well.
- Your child should continue taking regular mediations; however, if your child takes medicine for attention problems, check with our staff when making the appointment whether your child should take it on the testing day.
After Your Child’s Evaluation
After your child’s evaluation, we schedule a follow-up appointment for you to meet with the neuropsychologist and discuss your child’s strengths and areas of concern, and recommendations for next steps in care.
You then receive a written report in the mail detailing the results of the evaluation and the recommendation.
For more information and to arrange an appointment: