What is Pediatric Neuropsychology?
Pediatric neuropsychology deals with the relationship of children’s learning and behavior as it relates to their brain structures and systems. A learning disability does not mean your child is incapable of learning, gaining knowledge and growing; instead it means a different method of teaching must be utilized.
Pediatric neuropsychologists are licensed psychologists who have developed an expertise in how the development of a child’s brain relates to, and impacts, their learning and behavior. Pediatric neuropsychologists evaluate patients, analyze the test results, and based upon that, devise a targeted educational program or treatment plan.
What is included in a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation is conducted in order to assess a child’s strengths and weaknesses in neuropsychological, cognitive and academic areas. The evaluation of additional domains such as adaptive functioning, social-emotional functioning, and/or other areas of functioning may also be included depending on the needs of the child. Parents and teachers are often asked to complete rating scales and may be interviewed by the psychologist in order to get more information about the child’s development and areas of concern. After the testing is complete, the psychologist will explain results to parents and a report with recommendations will be written.
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurological disorder in which a child has difficulty focusing on tasks that are not immediately interesting.
Problems with attention, concentration, distractibility and focus are characteristic of children with this disorder. Many parents are confused when their child can pay attention to something he or she likes for hours but cannot sit for 10 minutes to do homework; this is typical in children with this disorder.
Current research suggests that ADHD is a disorder of executive functioning; it is important to realize that symptoms of hyperactivity do not have to be present in order for a child to have ADHD.
What symptoms are associated with ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has three subtypes: Inattentive Type, Hyperactive-impulsive Type and Combined Type. Each subtype has slightly different symptoms and symptoms can vary with age. The Inattentive Type includes symptoms such as:
- inability to pay attention to details or a tendency to make careless errors in schoolwork
- difficulty with sustained attention in tasks or play activities
- difficulty following instructions
- problems with organization of tasks and activities
- avoidance or dislike of tasks that require mental effort
- tendency to lose things like toys, notebooks, or homework
- forgetfulness in daily activities
The Hyperactive-Impulsive Type includes symptoms such as:
- fidgeting or squirming
- excessive running or climbing
- difficulty remaining seated
- difficulty waiting for a turn or in line
- difficulty playing quietly
- always seeming to be “on the go” as if driven by a motor
- blurting out answers before hearing the full question
- problems with interrupting or intruding
The Combined Type of ADHD includes significant symptoms from both the Inattentive and the Hyperactive-impulsive Types.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a neurological condition that interferes with reading. Dyslexia can also manifest itself by challenges in spelling, handwriting and expressive language.
People with dyslexia learn differently from others. It is possible, however, for dyslexic individuals to succeed in school and be successful in life.
What is NLD (Non-verbal Learning Disorder)?
NLD (Non-verbal Learning Disorder) is a learning disorder that manifests itself in the child’s inability to recognize and process non-verbal clues such as someone’s tone of voice or facial expression. It is also called right-hemisphere learning disorders or right-hemispheric dysfunction. Other difficulties that may be an issue of concern arise in gross motor skills, organizational processes, and social interactions.
What is Asperger’s Syndrome?
Asperger’s Syndrome is a neurological developmental disorder which is considered to be part of the Autism Spectrum.
Children with Asperger’s Syndrome will most likely encounter difficulty in understanding social cues, and interacting with other people.
Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome may be very intelligent and extremely verbal. As a point of interest, boys tend to be four times as likely as girls to be diagnosed with this disorder.
How long does testing take?
A full neuropsychological evaluation usually takes about 6-8 hours of testing over 1-3 sessions. This time may be shorter for younger children and may be longer for children with additional medical or psychological diagnoses.
How do I know if my child needs Neuropsychological Assessment?
Children who have any of the following difficulties may benefit from an evaluation:
- academic difficulties
- language delays
- difficulty paying attention
- hyperactive and impulsive children
- difficulty with memory
- difficulty staying organized
- difficulty completing tasks
What is IEP?
An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is an individualized plan written for children who are eligible to receive special education services for one of a number of disabilities or special needs. A team of educational professionals meet with parents to discuss a child’s special needs and write the IEP at the child’s school. The IEP addresses the individual needs of the child and outlines any relevant modifications to his/her curriculum and instruction, what services he or she will receive and what, if any accommodations will be provided. Guidance counselors and school psychologists can help parents to understand the IEP process which can be lengthy and confusing. Additionally, the department of education publishes a number of documents designed to help parents understand the laws and rights associated with special education services.
What is a 504 plan?
A: A 504 plan is somewhat similar to an IEP except that it is not as broad and falls under a different set of laws. The name “504 plan” refers to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act which specifies that no one with a disability can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including schooling. Under this law, a disability refers to a “physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.” A 504 plan is written by a team of educational professionals at the child’s school and spells out any accommodations or environmental modifications that will be needed in order for the child to have an opportunity perform at the same level as nondisabled peers.
What accommodations are available on the SAT, ACT, or in AP classes for students with disabilities
In order to receive accommodations on any of the College Board examinations, students must have recent testing and documentation of the qualifying disability. Depending on the disability and the degree of severity, different accommodations may be provided. Common accommodations include extended time, larger print, someone to read questions or write answers, computer responses, Braille, or an answer sheet with larger blocks.