What is neuropsychology?
Neuropsychology is a branch of clinical psychology that brings to light the cause of symptoms. Neuropsychologists use their specialized training in brain/behavior/emotion and cognition in order to integrate information gathered from the evaluation as well as any relevant history. This allows a neuropsychologist to diagnose a problem and professionals to direct specific treatments to the problem’s cause, and not just treat the symptoms. The goal is to help patients find the roots of a problem in order to best identify a solution.
A neuropsychologist is an expert in this field and according to the National Academy of Neuropsychology, they are a licensed clinical psychologist with a doctoral degree including a pre-doctoral internship, and the successful completion of a 2-year formal neuropsychology post-doctoral fellowship.
You mentioned a pediatric neuropsychological evaluation. What does it test?
A pediatric neuropsychological evaluation is intended to answer whatever your primary question or concern may be in a comprehensive manner. This includes an in-depth clinical interview with the parents and any other relevant caregivers. Upon the completion of the interview, a test battery is customized in order to obtain the data necessary to get at the primary concern. The assessment will incorporate cognitive, psychological, social and academic domains. Finally, a report is completed and the findings, as well as the diagnosis and recommendations for treatment, are provided to the family during a feedback session.
What childhood conditions are treated at NaCMed?
NaCMed provides parents with comprehensive assessments and neurofeedback for conditions such as ADHD or Biofeedback for conditions such as anxiety in order to guide you towards the best treatment for your child. We provide therapy services for teenagers, but refer out for younger children.
Please describe NaCMed’s ADHD coaching and ADHD retraining.
Upon completing a comprehensive evaluation at NaCMed, our educational director can offer ADHD and academic coaching and support, as well as adjustment to the disability. We can meet to discuss how the diagnosis can impact your child's education. For children in middle and high school, we create a program that helps your child learn to focus on their strengths while truly understanding how to best accommodate for their areas of weakness. This balance will help them become successful in an academic setting.
What non-medication based ADHD treatments are available?
If your child is diagnosed with ADHD and a medication regimen has been implemented, it is still imperative to incorporate non-medication based interventions in order for your child to function at their best and learn skills that they can implement independently. This can include interventions such as working with a behavioral therapist or adding technological programs like Neurofeedback to their treatment regimen.
If I am concerned my child is showing signs of being on the Autism Spectrum, what should my first step be?
Ask your pediatrician if they share your concerns. Your pediatrician can then refer you to a clinic, such as NaCMed, in order to complete a comprehensive evaluation with an Autism component. You know your child best; trust your instincts.
What exactly is the Autism Spectrum?
Autism Spectrum is considered a developmental disorder which consists of varying levels of difficulty with regard to social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as repetitive behaviors. Early diagnosis and intervention is vital.
Are there other conditions that present themselves similarly to ADHD?
Absolutely. This is why a comprehensive evaluation that assesses various domains of functioning is imperative. It is possible that the attention difficulties you are seeing in your child are a symptom of another underlying condition. This can include anxiety, depression, sensory processing difficulties, or even visual and auditory processing deficits. A comprehensive evaluation allows a neuropsychologist to assess all of these domains in order to provide you with the most accurate answer as to why your child is presenting with ADHD symptoms.
What is an IEP meeting and how will I know if my child needs one?
If your child has a disability and requires special education services at school, it is important to talk to your child's school counselor or head of special education. An IEP is an Individualized Education Program that defines the learning needs of your child, the services and accommodations that the school will provide your child, and how the school will measure your child's progress. The IEP team, which includes parents and various school members, works together to take into consideration the learning needs of your child.
Do you have questions for the doctors at NaCMed? Join us for Ask The Expert, a live chat on our Facebook page, on February 18. Come join the conversation!
Mary Washington Hospital has designated NacMed as part of the Neurosciences Center of Excellence and in addition has selected NaCMed to serve on the Board of Directors of its Neurosciences Center of Excellence.
from left: Dr. Katy Yates, EdD; Dr. Catherine Ward, PsyD; Dr. Aneta Leczycki, PhD, CRC