What is a Clinical Neuropsychologist?
Clinical neuropsychologists are psychologists who specialise in understanding the relationship between the brain and behaviour. They use this information to assess how changes in brain function impact on thinking, emotions and behaviour.
People are often referred to see a neuropsychologist when they have problems with thinking and memory. Common symptoms include difficulty concentrating and remembering things, learning new information, and difficulties with language, problem-solving and decision-making.
Neuropsychological assessments are used to:
- Diagnose specific brain-related conditions, such as dementia or other neurological conditions
- Provide recommendations for treatment planning after a traumatic brain injury or stroke including the ability to return to work, study, driving or independent living
- Monitor change, as some brain conditions get better or worse over time
- Assess decision-making capacity (e.g. financial, lifestyle, and testamentary).
Diagnose developmental conditions such as intellectual impairment and learning disabilities
Who would benefit from a Neuropsychological Assessment?
Neuropsychologists see people with a wide range of brain conditions associated with:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntingdon’s disease
- Medical or psychiatric conditions
- Infectious disease
- Chronic substance use
- Developmental disorders
- Intellectual impairment and learning disabilities
What does a Neuropsychological Assessment involve?
A neuropsychological assessment involves a clinical interview and administration of pencil and paper tests. During the clinical interview you will be asked about your symptoms, medical history, medications, and other important information relevant to the assessment. The tests administered depend upon the reason for the assessment and generally include measures of intelligence, memory, language, attention, planning, and problem-solving.
Results are evaluated in relation to a person’s age, background, and reason for referral, and a report is sent to the referrer. The clinical neuropsychologist may arrange a follow-up appointment with you to discuss the results.
What should I bring?
- Reading glasses or hearing aids
- Any relevant reports or records, such as previous neuropsychological assessment
- A list of your current medications
- Please bring your partner or a close family member, if possible, so they can also be involved in the initial clinical interview. Do not worry if no-one is available, as they can be interviewed later by phone.
- As sessions can be lengthy, you are welcome to bring a snack. Coffee and tea are provided
How long will the assessment take?
The time required for an assessment depends upon the reason for referral and may take up to 4 hours. Breaks are provided, as needed, and assessments can be conducted over several sessions if required.
How do I prepare for an assessment?
- Try and get a good night’s sleep before the assessment
- Take your medications and have breakfast as normal on the day of assessment
- Avoid alcohol and other substances
- Write down any questions and concerns you may have