Who will benefit from a neuropsychological assessment?

A neuropsychological assessment may be helpful when a person is suspected or known to have suffered a brain injury and changes in thinking or behaviour have been recognized.  

The people with the following conditions are often referred for assessment: 

brain_tree_2.jpg
  • Traumatic Brain Injury, 
  • Multiple Sclerosis, 
  • Epilepsy, 
  • Brain Infections (Meningitis, Encephalitis), 
  • Early Onset Dementia, 
  • Dementia (Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular Dementia, Fronto-Temporal Dementia, Huntington’s Disease), 
  • Stroke, 
  • Tumours, 
  • Congenital Intellectual Disability, 
  • Giftedness, 
  • Learning Disorders, 
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ADHD, Asperger’s, Autism), 
  • Drug and Alcohol Disorders, 
  • Mental Illness (Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia)

A neuropsychological assessment can assist with:

1. Diagnosis

Inform, correct or confirm diagnoses, differentiate between different neurological conditions (eg., the different types of dementia), and differentiate neurological disorders from psychiatric disorders, or organic from non-organic conditions. 

2. Management Advice

Outline a person’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses and the severity of any impairments, and how these may impact on everyday function. This information may be used in clarifying vocational, recreational or accommodation issues (eg., Can the person return to live independently? Can the individual return to work or driving?).

3. Rehabilitation Strategies and Cognitive Remediation

Information on a person’s level of cognitive function can be utilised to develop strategies or interventions which best optimise that person’s intact cognitive skills together with appropriate environmental manipulation in order to enhance quality of every day living. In addition, the brain has some capacity to ‘re-wire’ itself and therefore suggestions regarding neuroplasticity and cognitive remediation on how to strengthen the brain are also be provided. 

4. Family or Carer Counselling and Education

Education given to carers/family member/Human resource departments regarding the cognitive changes that have occurred and how these will affect the person’s everyday level of function.  This information can reduce the distress and frustration of family members and carers. This information also assist organisations in relation to workers' compensation matters and capacity for workplace integration.

5. Monitoring Progress

At times, it is useful to obtain a baseline assessment of a person’s cognitive capacities if there is uncertainty as to the diagnosis or treatment efficacy (eg., pre and post removal of brain tumour/ pre trial of medication). This is particularly important in clarifying the diagnosis of a dementia. In degenerative disorders, serial assessment is necessary to answer evolving management issues such as legal competency.

6. Legal Competency

At times, a neuropsychological assessment of a person’s cognitive capacities is required for Guardian and Administration Tribunal hearings.
This assessment can help determine whether a client has the cognitive capacity to independently sign a will and testament, manage financial affairs and make rational decisions and judgments regarding accommodation, financial or medical treatment issues. 

7. CLINICAL SUPERVISION

Deidre completed her Supervised Training and Approval Program (STAPS) at Griffith University in 2008 with additional training in 2010. She has supervised both provisional psychologists and registered psychologists completing their post graduate qualifications in areas of specialist endorsement. Deidre enjoys the collaborative process that supervision provides and the supervisory alliance and is committed to open and informed feedback supervision.