Neuropsychological Assessment

Jigsaw puzzle table

Dr. Kraska provides Neuropsychological Assessments at Genesis Clinical Services, PLLC. For more in depth information regarding assessments, scheduling and other available services, visit the Genesis Clinical website. At Genesis Clinical, assessments are tailored to the individual, the most current instruments available and are strengths based. Each assessment is specifically crafted to answer the question(s) being asked by the referral source. The assessment is followed by an in-depth feedback session, which reviews the results and offers a comprehensive treatment plan including specific recommendations and accommodations as necessary.

Types of assessments conducted:
Neurodevelopmental Assessments (under age 18)
Psychological/Neuropsychological Assessments (ages 18 and up)
Psychoeducational Assessments (all ages)
Cognitive Abilities Assessments
Charlotte Area Independent School (CAIS) Assessments – K through 4th grade

Diagnoses frequently identified in our assessments:
ADHD (all subtypes)
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Anxiety Disorders
Depressive Disorders
Language Disorders
Specific Learning Disorders
Communication Disorders
Thought Disorders
Bipolar Disorders
Obsessive/Compulsive Disorders
Personality Disorders
Substance Use Disorders
Neurocognitive Disorders

What is included in a psychological evaluation?
There are five essential elements…

1. A review of the presenting problem. The presenting problem(s) is the reason the individual is seeking treatment or an evaluation. Examples of presenting problems include: difficulty with falling and staying asleep, poor organizational skills, frequently forgetful, depressed or sad most of the day, anxious or restless throughout the day, difficulty letting go of things, etc.

2. A psychological interview. The interview is where the psychologist gets to know the client personally and in-depth. A review of current symptoms, history of symptoms, and development are collected so that an accurate picture of the individual can be made. Questions are asked in the areas of family, social, medical, and work/school.

3.Psychological testing related to the presenting problem. Based on the information obtained in the presenting problem and comprehensive interview, the psychologist will then identify appropriate testing to obtain specific information about problem areas. Psychological tests typically consist of answering specific questions on standardized instruments. The tests selected may measure moods, personality, aptitude, pathology, skill, intelligence or ability.

4. A summary of the results and feedback session. The psychologist then pulls together all the information gained from the interview and testing to create a clinical picture of the client and generate appropriate diagnoses in four areas: identifiable psychiatric disorders, personality disorders, medical conditions which may be affecting mental health, and social/environmental problems. The summary also includes a Global Assessment of Functioning, which assigns a number. This summary is called a multiaxial assessment and is used to complete the recommendations and suggestions

5. Recommendations and suggestions. The psychologist now creates a list of recommended interventions to address the problems identified in the multiaxial assessment. These recommendations are typically treatment interventions which have been shown through research and practice to effectively work on the problems identified. The psychologist will refer the patient to appropriate resources to obtain the interventions recommended. For example, if the psychologist has diagnosed the individual with bipolar disorder and recommended a medication consultation, he will likely refer the patient to a psychiatrist for medications. Sometimes, the psychologist will provide the treatment interventions himself—depending upon his scope of practice (e.g. using cognitive behavioral therapy in treating a client diagnosed with depression/anxiety)

Typically, a comprehensive psychological assessment report will be provided containing the five essential elements. The report may be used for: obtaining necessary services based upon particular diagnoses, collaborating with teachers and schools regarding services needed to address attention/learning concerns (typically called an IEP or 504 plan), for clarity and accuracy when dealing with multiple healthcare professionals (psychologist and a psychiatrist), and for the tracking of symptoms over time.

How will a comprehensive neurodevelopmental assessment help my child?
1. Provides CLARITY – it’s easy to make assumptions as to why our child is struggling in school, or why he is struggling to make or keep friends. Our assumptions and ideas may be right, but then again, they may not. A psychological evaluation helps sift through the hunches and foggy ideas about what “may” be going on, and provides clear, accurate, and detailed explanations of what is causing the child to struggle in a particular area.

2.Sets EXPECTATIONS – clearly understanding an individual and their struggles with clarity enables parents, teachers, coaches and friends to set realistic and appropriate expectations for the child. Assuming that someone is capable of something when they are not is a recipe for discouragement and low self-esteem. Often, an accurate diagnosis can help with providing clear guidelines for what can and should be expected from a child.

3.Helps develop a TREATMENT PLAN – it’s hard to treat a problem when your really not sure what’s wrong. It’s amazing how frequently people may begin to try and treat a problem before accurately understanding the problem. Treatment plans and interventions are most effective when developed around a thorough understanding of a client’s diagnosis, which is obtained from a good psychological evaluation. Treatment plans are often well crafted, but can miss the mark if there is misunderstanding surrounding the cause or nature of the problem.

4.Improves PARENTING – when a parent has clarity regarding what makes their child tick and is clear on what expectations are appropriate, they are in a much better place to know how to parent their child effectively. This enables them to set reasonable limits, provide adequate praise, and establish the correct amount of structure into their child’s life.

5.Prevents years of FRUSTRATION – having clarity, the right expectations, a solid treatment plan and the right support can have a dramatic effect on the development of any child, particularly, in the areas of: academic performance, social skills/relationships, confidence, self-esteem, level of motivation, and happiness. Struggling with an undetected problem for years can be a drain on anyone’s level of functioning and can create problems in all areas of life. Therefore, it is worth the time and effort to properly address the problem before the consequences become more difficult to manage.

For additional information regarding assessments and scheduling, visit Genesis Clinical Services, PLLC.

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