It’s okay to have a little (or a lot!) of anticipatory anxiety about the evaluation. We’re here to see you through it and make meaningful recommendations for going forward. Here is exactly what happens from start to finish for most neuropsychological evaluations at Community Neuropsychology:
- The neuropsychologist you’re scheduled to see greets you.
- You are invited to the neuropsychologist’s office where we go over consent forms, answer any questions, and then start the interview. The interview is done first because it’s our chance to talk about history and get a sense of the current concerns. People often bring a friend or family member to the interview which we think is great. It gives us more information from a different perspective.
- The first of as many breaks as you need happens here. After the interview we like to give a breather. It’s a good time to stretch, learn where the bathroom is, and get some water.
- The testing is usually the bulk of the time spent with us. It’s a lot of interactive, question and answer tests that look at how different systems in the brain work. The tests cover the primary cognitive domains which are: learning and memory, attention, processing speed, visuospatial skills, language skills and executive functioning. We get levels for anxiety and depression and other psychiatric symptoms, and sometimes there’s a personality questionnaire or a pain questionnaire. Sometimes we ask family members to complete questionnaires too, but never without permission from the person we’re evaluating.
- Depending on scheduling needs, you may either be tested by a psychometrist (which means an expert in test administration) or a neuropsychologist, or both. The tests are standardized, so it doesn’t matter who administers them as long as the administration is done properly. We go to great lengths to make sure that the tests are given in a reliable manner and that the testing environment is a welcoming, peaceful place.
- After the testing we might be able to give some preliminary diagnostic impressions, but it takes a while to score up the tests and write the report after you’re gone.
- Before you leave we schedule a feedback session where we can review the results of the testing and our recommendations. Feedbacks last about an hour and usually about 7-10 business days after the evaluation.
- But that isn’t all! We’re a resource to the people we evaluate. We invite people to call if there are questions about the report, or if we can help with other issues like a job change, disability application, academic accommodations, etc. Some people are recommended to have repeat testing in a certain number of months.
Knowing what to expect helps reduce anxiety. We can only see one or two people a day because of the comprehensiveness of the evaluation, so the focus is on your needs and the time is yours. Sometimes we break up the evaluation into 2-3 sessions due to fatigue, pain, or anxiety, or other medical issues. We discuss that at the time it is scheduled.
— Jennifer Geiger, Ph.D., ABPP-CN