Alice Ruzicka, Ph.D., ABN, FACPN
Licensed Psychologist PSY 13284
The purpose of the neuropsychological assessment is to answer the questions that have been posed by individuals or their physicians, whether it is to diagnose possible learning disabilities and to recommend appropriate therapies, to diagnose ADHD in children or adults, cognitive decline in older patients, or to examine other possible impairments.
School assessment teams conduct
evaluations specifically to determine
if a child has a learning impairment
that might meet criteria for the
student to be eligible for special
education services. The purpose and
scope of the assessment is limited
and some assessments are more
thorough than others. School
assessments do not yield a diagnosis and recommendations for services outside of the school are typically not suggested. School assessments are not conducted until all general education resources have been exhausted, which could mean excessive delays for a student in getting the needed assistance with learning. In some school districts, children are not eligible for special education services unless they are two or more years below grade level expectation. If you have had an assessment completed by a school district and feel that it was incomplete or that you need more information, please contact me and I will assist you to answer questions that you still have.
If it appears that your child might qualify for assistance at school, I will be happy to assist you through the process required to obtain the services. If you disagree with the assessment findings or recommendations, I can assist you in thinking through other options for your child. If you need an independent Educational Assessment because you disagree with results, please contact me.
The neuropsychological assessment is multidimensional. In order to determine how to assist a client, I take a complete history, which includes gathering information from others who know the client. When working with a child, I often also observe the child in the classroom.
The assessment includes taking a thorough history and administration of a variety of neuropsychological and educational tests to identify strengths and weaknesses and I use the results to understand the individual’s processing and to properly diagnose if a diagnosis is warranted. I then create a treatment plan tailored to the individual’s specific needs. Such treatment might include cognitive rehabilitation, behavior management, psychotherapy, speech or language therapy, occupational therapy, or assistance by a learning specialist as well as assistance through community programs. A thorough report is written and is discussed with the client(s). The treatment plan will be different for each individual, depending on what they feel they need and the results of the assessment.
A thorough assessment can often detect mild problems with reasoning, memory, and thinking that might not be overtly obvious, but that, nevertheless, cause some functional difficulties. For example, young children with a mild inattentive-type of ADHD might not learn as well as expected or earn grades of which they are capable. When problems are mild, an assessment may be the only way to detect them. The evaluation might also be used to identify problems related to medical conditions that can affect memory and thinking, such as metabolic or infectious diseases. Impairments that are identified need not handicap an individual's performance if the appropriate treatments and accommodations are made.
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