What is neuropsychology?

Neuropsychology is the study of how brain health and injury affect one’s ability to function at work, school and in his or her daily life. A neuropsychological evaluation is a procedure that assesses memory and thinking skills to evaluate brain health and functioning. Sometimes, neuropsychology test results show problems with the brain even if the brain looks healthy according to a brain scan, like a CT or MRI. A neuropsychologist is a clinical psychologist with training in understanding the connection between brain health and cognitive functioning. 

Reasons for referral for a neuropsychological evaluation may include:

  • To assess for potential problems with brain functioning by uncovering cognitive strengths and weaknesses
  • To diagnose memory or thinking skill problems
  • To guide rehabilitation and treatment planning
  • To document changes in functioning over time

What tests are used?

The neuropsychologist decides which tests will be administered based on the reasons for referral. Some are paper and pencil tests, and some involve solving puzzles by putting things together. The standardized tests assess different thinking skills, such as:

  • Attention and concentration
  • Memory
  • Simple and complex problem solving
  • Thinking speed
  • Visual abilities
  • Speaking and language skills
  • Motor skills
  • Reading and other academic skills
  • Emotions and coping

What is the testing like?

There are no needles or brain scans involved with neuropsychological testing. The appointments are typically longer than regular doctor’s appointments, ranging from three to eight hours, including rest and lunch breaks. After meeting with the neuropsychologist, patients work with testing technicians to take the tests. Patients do not need to study for the tests. Some test questions are easy, while others are harder. The neuropsychologist interprets test results based on symptoms, clinical history and review of available medical and other records. 

On the day of testing, patients should:

  • Bring their eyeglasses, hearing aids, or any adaptive equipment they have, along with the completed pre-visit questionnaire, if they have not already mailed it back to us
  • Take medications as prescribed
  • Bring paperwork such as medical records or school records that might help the neuropsychologist better understand their background

What is the outcome?

The outcome of an evaluation is a conclusion or set of conclusions made about the patient’s thinking skills and brain health. The conclusions usually include specific recommendations to guide treatment or otherwise enhance the patient’s functioning. 

Does OSF Adult Neuropsychology take referrals?

Yes! Doctors at OSF Adult Neuropsychology see patients age 14 years and older. A medical provider needs to send a referral to our office before an evaluation is scheduled. After receiving the referral, our staff will contact the patient or designated family member to schedule the evaluation. Then, patients will be sent more information about the appointment and a pre-visit questionnaire to be completed and brought to the appointment. Please contact our office by calling (309) 655-7378.