UQ Psychology Clinic - Neuropsychological Assessment

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Neuropsychological Assessment

What is neuropsychological assessment?

Neuropsychological assessment aims to assess an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in cognitive functioning. Cognitive functioning refers to activities such as thinking, reasoning and conceiving – it is basically our “mental behaviour”.

In clinical neuropsychology, brain and cognitive function are evaluated by objectively testing memory and thinking skills.

Neuropsychological assessments are requested to help understand how the different areas and systems of the brain are working. Testing is usually recommended when there are symptoms or problems with memory or thinking. This may be because a person has a change in their concentration, organisation, reasoning, memory, language, perception, coordination or personality. These changes may be due to a number of causes (medical, genetic, psychological).

Neuropsychological evaluation may involve assessment of the following:

  • General intellect
  • Higher level executive skills (eg problem solving, reasoning)
  • Attention and concentration
  • Learning and memory
  • Language
  • Visual-spatial skills
  • Motor and sensory skills
  • Mood and personality

Neuropsychological assessments, report preparation and treatment are carried out under the supervision of leading experts in the field. A neuropsychological evaluation usually consist of an interview and testing. During the interview you will be asked about your symptoms, medical history, medications and other important information. Testing may comprise of answering questions, completing paper and pencil exercises and/or computer based tests. Some tests may be easy, while others may be more challenging or complex. The time it takes to complete the testing will depend on the tests being used and your psychologist should give you an indication of this. Sometimes testing will take place over a number of sessions.

Test scores are compared to those of large groups of healthy people to judge whether or not a score is normal or expected for a certain age group and educational background. The pattern of an individual’s test scores are also examined to look for changes in certain abilities.

The test results are then used to:

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses in specific areas.
  • To differentiate among illnesses, which can then direct appropriate treatment eg to differentiate between Alzheimer’s Disease, stroke and depression.
  • To establish a ‘baseline’ of skills/weaknesses in order to measure change in the future.
  • To plan for treatment to use strengths to compensate for weaknesses eg in rehabilitation plan for recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury.
  • Assess everyday functional skills to plan for assistance or treatment eg impact on memory in managing money and driving.

How much does Neuropsychological assessment cost?

A neuropsychological evaluation comprises of assessment interview, test administration, test scoring, report preparation and feedback.

Face to face interviews, testing and feedback to clients are charged at $40 per hour ($25 per hour for concession). Written reports attracts a further fee of $130 (or $100 concession).