A neuropsych evaluation can be beneficial for a number of reasons. With less and less stigma about neurodivergent brains as well as mental health issues, it can help to illuminate exactly how a child’s brain functions (or even that of the brain of an adult) and what accommodations can be made for that child, particularly in regards to school. A neuropsych evaluation can serve as a powerful diagnostic tool. Once a neuropsych evaluation has been completed and the child or adult has been diagnosed, it is then possible to provide them with the proper treatment. Without neuropsychological testing, this would be an impossibility. At least, the treatment provided would certainly not be as accurate or as tailored to the individual patient.
Take dyslexia, for example. Dyslexia is a very common condition, affecting over 40 million Americans. We have all heard of dyslexia and many of us either deal with it ourselves or know someone who does, but it’s most certainly a misunderstood condition. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, dyslexia does not impact IQ in any way. For instance, Einstein had dyslexia and also had an incredibly high IQ, estimated to be around 160. Unfortunately however, only 2 million of the estimated 40 million with dyslexia have been properly diagnosed. A neuropsych evaluation could help to diagnose more people. And once a diagnosis has been made, treatment and accommodations can begin. Many people with dyslexia benefit from testing accommodations when they are in school, often given ACT accommodations that involve extended time. The more people are properly diagnosed, the more we can tailor specialized education to them. Take fonts, for instance. It seems like a simple thing, but even just using a different style of font can help a dyslexic person read and learn more easily.
A psychoeducational evaluation can also be beneficial when there is cause for ADD testing. ADD, also known as attention deficit disorder, is another incredibly common condition that affects over 6 million children between the ages of four to seventeen in the United States alone. ADD, most frequently diagnosed at the average age of seven, can make it difficult for children to concentrate in the classroom. It also has no impact on IQ but can certainly affect performance in school, as it makes focusing and internalizing information more difficult than for someone who does not deal with the condition. Though boys are more commonly diagnosed than girls, it is important to get a neuropsych evaluation for any child that is exhibiting significant symptoms of ADD. Like dyslexia, proper accommodations made in the classroom and for testing can be hugely beneficial to the educational career of the student with ADD. As people diagnosed with ADD or ADHD are considerably more likely to suffer from other mental health issues like anxiety (50% more likely) and depression (around three times more likely), it is important that they are correctly diagnosed so that medical professionals can be on the lookout for such issues if they do occur.
A neuropsych evaluation can also be effective in diagnosing autism, which is typically diagnosed early on, by the age of two. Again, though boys are around three times as likely to receive an autism diagnosis than girls, it is important to get any child showing significant symptoms evaluated by a neuropsychologist. Autism, like ADD and dyslexia, is not an uncommon condition. It is estimated to be diagnosed in around one out of every forty five children aged three to seventeen, according to a government survey. Properly diagnosing autism can help parents to understand how to best accommodate their child, both in and out of a school setting. With an autism diagnosis, parents can begin the process of early intervention as well.
Proper treatment and early intervention can make the difference for children dealing with one of the above conditions, as can education about the condition itself. It is important for parents to recognize that there is a problem and give it the seriousness it deserves, and for neuropsychologists to treat the condition as effectively as possible.