What will the evaluation day look like?

The evaluation involves clinical interviews with you and a family member or close friend, when possible, to understand your history and how cognitive and emotional changes have affected your life and daily functioning. The interview can take up to two hours. You will then complete neuropsychological testing with the neuropsychologist. You will be tested alone in a quiet room. Family members or friends will be asked to wait in the waiting room and may be asked to complete additional questionnaires. If English is not your first and/or primary language, an interpreter may be present to assist with the evaluation. Family members cannot be used as interpreters. Neuropsychological testing involves a non-invasive process using a variety of written and verbal tasks that are completed while seated at a table. These tests can be paper-and-pencil and/or computerized. The total time of the evaluation depends on the reason why you were referred for testing. The testing is usually completed in one visit and the time for the evaluation usually ranges from 3-8 hours, with a one-hour lunch break, and several refresher breaks (for stretching, water and snacks, etc.) as needed. PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ANY OTHER APPOINTMENTS ON THE DAY OF YOUR EVALUATION. Since all patients present and perform differently, there is no way to know if your appointment will last 3 hours vs. an entire 8-hour day. Additionally, because of the length of the appointment and need for a distraction-free environment, please make arrangements for caregiving needs (e.g., childcare, elderly care), as these services are not provided by CFNA.

How is my performance measured?

Neuropsychological tests are standardized, meaning that they are given in the same manner to all patients and scored in a similar manner time after time. An individual’s scores on tests are interpreted by comparing their score to that of healthy individuals of a similar demographic background (i.e., of similar age, education, gender, and/or ethnic background) and to expected levels of functioning. Scores are compared with normative samples that resemble those of the patient’s background as closely as possible. In this way, a neuropsychologist can determine whether one’s performance on any given task represents a strength or weakness.

Do I need to study before I take these tests?

No.  There is nothing you need to study before your neuropsychological evaluation.  The tests are trying to get a sense of what you are able to do now, so there is no need to learn any new material or practice skills.

What to do/bring the day of your neuropsychological evaluation.

  • Plan on bringing an adult family member or friend who knows you well so he or she can provide additional information about your history, and current concerns.
  • Only the patient can be in the room during the testing administration portion of the appointment. As such, please do not bring anyone to the appointment who cannot care for themselves (e.g., children, elderly dependent). Only service animals are allowed in the office locations.
  • The evaluation day can be anywhere from 4-8 hours. Please DO NOT schedule any other appointments on the day of your evaluation.
  • Bring a current list of your medications and their dosages.
  • Bring your reading glasses or hearing aids.
  • Copies of any relevant medical records will be important to bring with you (e.g., MRIs, CT scans, previous neuropsychological testing reports, school records/most recent IEP plan).
  • Please take your regularly prescribed medications, as scheduled. Avoid optional medications that cause drowsiness, such as pain killers, and allergy medications. It is advised to consult with your physician if you are currently taking any sleep or analgesic pain medication as it may interfere with your cognitive functioning on the day of testing.
  • Do not consume alcohol or illicit substances 24 hours prior to your evaluation.
  • Dress comfortably as you’ll be sitting most of the time.
  • Please eat before the appointment, as the evaluation lasts several hours.
  • Feel free to bring snacks, and a bagged lunch. There will be a one-hour lunch break. You may also purchase your lunch at any of the nearby restaurants and grocery stores.
  • Bring a valid photo ID and health insurance card, if applicable.
  • Allow extra time for parking and the check-in process. Your evaluation will start promptly at the scheduled time.

What is the difference between a clinical neuropsychological evaluation, and a forensic neuropsychological evaluation?

Clinical Neuropsychology is a specialty field within clinical psychology, dedicated to understanding the relationships between brain and behavior, particularly as these relationships can be applied to the diagnosis of brain disorder, assessment of cognitive and behavioral functioning and the design of effective treatment. Clinical neuropsychological evaluations are typically referred by other healthcare providers, who would like a better understanding of the patient’s thinking abilities, in order to provide the best possible care. Another common reason for referral is to examine how a person is coping with medical symptoms or with an injury or illness.

The primary responsibility of the forensic neuropsychologist is to provide information based on scientifically-validated neuropsychological principles and clinical methodology that is pertinent to the Forensic Question at hand—which is not just whether the patient has dysfunction, but whether the dysfunction results from the event under consideration in a legal matter (e.g., motor vehicle accident, criminal proceedings). The neuropsychologist may be called upon to deliver expert testimony in court or to consult with legal teams or law enforcement. The forensic neuropsychological assessment is also distinguished from the clinical field, since the requestor is a third party (e.g., attorney, insurance company, court), and communication of the results takes place among the expert witness and the requestor. While the  neuropsychologist must still abide by professional standards of ethics and objectivity, he or she may not be able to report the findings of the evaluation directly to the examinee. Generally, forensic neuropsychological assessments are meant to be submitted to a court as evidence for a legal proceeding. It is up to the discretion of the hiring agent whether the results of the evaluation are submitted to the court.

What is the difference between Neuropsychological and Psychological testing?

Standard psychological/diagnostic evaluations include clinical interviews, questionnaires, and assessments for personality/emotional/behavioral characteristics.

Comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations are used when there is evidence to suggest neurological problems. As such, in addition to the psychological/emotional/behavioral assessments included in a standard psychological evaluation, the neuropsychological evaluation also assess for Attention and Concentration, Verbal and Visual Memory, Auditory and Visual Processing, Visual-Spatial Functioning, Language and Reading skills, Gross and Fine Motor Development, and Executive Functioning.

What happens after the evaluation is completed?

When the evaluation is completed, a final report is written by the neuropsychologist which contains the information you and/or an informant provided during the clinical interview, a comprehensive review of all available records, behavioral observations, a summary of test findings, diagnostic conclusions, and recommendations/referrals. The final report will be sent to the referral source, to you, and individuals designated by you who are providing medical or mental health care. Brief questions can be answered over the phone by the neuropsychologist, or if you have more extensive questions, a one-hour feedback appointment can be made.

How much does an evaluation cost and who pays for the evaluation?

Please see Fees