School Neuropsychological Testing

Are you looking for School Neuropsychological Testing for a child, adolescent or young adult?

Neurobiological factors underlie a broad range of childhood issues and concerns. Consequently, a school neuropsychological assessment  is an option to consider when choosing an assessment to explore the learning and/or behavioural, or social and emotional needs of a child, adolescent or young adult.

Many families and professionals are unaware of what school neuropsychological testing is, and how it can help the child, adolescent or young adult.  They believe their best option is to  request a psycho-educational or psychological assessment.

Frequently more is needed, than a psycho-educational or psychological assessment, to “get to the root” of the child or adolescent concerns, and find evidence based solutions to address them.

In general the school neuropsychological assessment offers a more comprehensive option than either a psycho-educational or psychological assessment. The school neuropsychological assessment usually provides a more in-depth assessment, than the latter two options. It often includes the components of both a psycho-educational and psychological assessment.

Overall, what makes the school neuropsychological assessment unique is the inclusion of more in depth assessment and analysis of individual neuro-cognitive constructs, and their nature and extent. This includes sensory-motor functions, auditory/phonological issues, visual-spatial processes, attentional processing, learning and memory,including working memory, and executive functions.This information is then tailored to the development of evidence-based interventions, and instructional strategies.

School neuropsychological testing explores the brain functions that underlie a child's learning and behavior problems. School neuropsychology integrates neuropsychological and educational principles within the assessment and intervention processes.  The school neuropsychological assessment leads to instructional strategies based on brain-behavior principles, which, in turn, promote an optimum learning environment for the child.

School neurological testing addresses the child’s General Intellectual Ability, his learning strengths and needs, as well as his social, emotional and behavioural functioning.

When To Consider School Neuropsychological Testing

-School neuropsychological testing can be particularly helpful when exploring the strengths and needs of children with any of the following concerns:

  • A child or adolescent with a known or suspected learning disability.
  • A child or adolescent who has suffered a head injury, including a mild brain injury or concussion, and is showing behavioral and/or academic difficulties.
  • Children with a history of acquired or congenital brain injury (e.g., anoxia, brain tumours, encephalitis, genetic abnormalities, meningitis, neurofibromatosis, seizure disorders, or cerebrovascular diseases).
  • Children with neuromuscular diseases (e.g., cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy).
  • Children with central nervous system compromise (e.g., end-stage renal disease, HIV/AIDS, juvenile diabetes, leukemia, and spina-bifida, or hydrocephalus).
  • Children with neuro-developmental risk factors (e.g., alcohol exposure, cocaine/marijuana exposure, environmental toxin exposure, nicotine exposure, low birth-weight and prematurity).
  • Children who show a dramatic drop in academic achievement that cannot be explained.
  • A child who suffers from Post Traumatic Symptoms, and/or complex trauma, and is showing behavioral and/or learning problems.

To learn more about child trauma and how an assessment can help, click here.

Dr. O'Connor Can Help

Dr. O'Connor, a Toronto psychologist, provides school neuropsychological testing for children, adolescents and young adults. The school neuropsychological evaluation explores the young person's  functioning across the following neuropsychological domains:

  • Sensory-Motor Skills
  • Attention
  • Language
  • Visual-Spatial Functioning
  • Auditory/phonological Processing
  • Memory and Learning Processes
  • Working Memory Processes
  • Executive Functioning
  • Processing Speed

Social and emotional functioning is also addressed, as are the child's academic skill levels and his General Intellectual Ability.

Dr. O'Connor's school neuropsychological evaluations explore the neuropsychological weaknesses and strengths the young person  exhibits, and their nature and extent.

School neuropsychological testing also leads to evidence based interventions to help move the child toward increased success within the school setting and at home.

Following the assessment, a comprehensive written report is provided. This report outlines the assessment findings, and describes the specific neuro-cognitive concerns the child exhibits, including their nature and extent. The young person's strengths strengths are also explored, and used, when appropriate, to help the child compensate for the challenges he/she faces. The report also includes evidence based interventions to help promote positive outcomes in the child.

Most children and adolescents spend the major part of their day in the classroom.

How well a young person does  at school, across all developmental domains, from the learning and academic, to the social and emotional, often lays the foundation for success in adulthood.  We use the findings gleaned from the school neuropsychological evaluation to promote the best possible outcomes for the young person at school, in the community, and at home.

The school neuropsychological evaluation can assist in legal cases, for example, when the child has suffered a brain injury, or is showing PTSD, as the result of a MVA or other trauma or insult. The school neuropsychological testing quantifies the severity of the child's impairments and provides objective, valid and reliable measures of cognition, emotions, personality and behavior. These results can also help inform effective intervention programs.   

Who Can Conduct a School Neuropsychological Assessment?

Psychologists who practice in school neuropsychology must have competency-based training. School Neuropsychology is the application of brain-based principles to education. It is not dependent on how to administer a set of tests (e.g. a 3 hour workshop on how to administer the Nepsy -II). The tests are only tools to help test hypotheses and provide samples of behaviour in controlled settings. Competence in school psychology requires doctoral training in school or pediatric neuropsychology, or the completion of a competency-based post-graduate training program with clinical supervision in school neuropsychology.

Psychologists who practice in school neuropsychology must have knowledge of functional neuroanatomy, and brain imaging techniques. Many will apply The Cognitive Hypothesis Model when analyzing the findings and developing hypotheses around the results  of the school neuropsychological assessment.This model relies heavily on Lurian and process-oriented approaches to neuropsychological testing.

A key component of this model is the analysis of the neurocognitve demands/solutions required to perform a given task. 

As a diplomate of The American Board of School Neuropsychology, Dr. OConnor completed a competency based post-graduate program with demonstrated mastery in School Neuropsychology.

Contact Dr. O'Connor about the School Neuropsychological Testing services she offers to help children and adolescents who present with school neuropsychological issues and concerns.