School Neuropsychology-Assessments & Testing -Toronto

Dr. O'Connor, a Toronto psychologist has completed post doctoral training in school neuropsychology. She provides school neuropsychological assessments to children, adolescents and young adults at her Toronto office  (Yonge & St. Clair), and to clients in the York and Simcoe regions at offices located in Barrie and Alliston. She takes referrals from educational personnel, physicians, pediatricians, personal injury and family lawyers, mental health professionals and organizations. 

School neuropsychology

The young people Dr. O'Connor works with require comprehensive psychological and/or school-neuropsychological assessments to get to the root of the psychological and learning issues that plague them. A psychoeducational assessment is generally not enough for the young clients she works with.

School neuropsychological assessments provide a more comprehensive, in depth assessment than the traditional psychoeducational assesment. This applies specifically to the underlying neuropsychological processing concerns that young people with learning and other psycholological problems often exhibit.  

However, the traditional psychoeducational assessment can serve as a critical screener to identify neuropsychological processing weaknesses or deficits that may be a factor in the learning and psychological difficulties the young person shows. Further exploration through an in depth comprehensive school neuropsychological assessment can determine how these concerns interfere with the young person's ability to cope successfully at school, at home and within the community. The school neuropsychological assessment also leads to evidence based interventions, based on both the young persons assessed strengths  and weakness.

Dr. O'Connor includes the full components of a psychoeducational assessment within the comprehensive psychological and/or school neuropsychological assessments she provides.   These components occur at the beginning of the assessment, so if after completing this first stage of the assessment, Dr. O'Connor does not feel a more in depth assessment is required, she would not proceed with the more fulsome school neuropsychological evaluation.

What Is School Neuropsychology?

School Neuropsychology increases understanding and addresses the nature and extent of the neurological deficits the young person exhibits, and applies neuropsychological and educational principles to assessments and interventions with children, adolescents and young adults. Dr. O'Connor offers school neuropsychological assessments to increase understanding of the brain behavior relationships that underlie the psychological challenges that present in young people. Psychologists who practice in School Neuropsychology must have knowledge of functional neuroanatomy and brain imaging techniques. This model of assessment 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.

Toronto School Neuropsychological Assessments

Dr. O'Connor's School Neuropsychological Assessments explore the neuro-biological underpinnings of childhood learning and behavioral problems. School neuropsychological assessments provide a profile of the young person's neuro-cognitive strengths and weaknesses across a range of domains. This neurocognitive pattern of strengths and weaknesses provides an understanding of how the neurocognitive weaknesses/deficits he or she shows affect his or her functioning in areas of concern. This pattern also leads to evidence based interventions to help the young person achieve greater success across areas of concern. The child's neurocognitive strengths are used to help the young person compensate  for the neurological weaknesses/deficts he or she shows. 

Areas Assessed during a School Neuropsychological Assessment Include:

  • Sensori-Motor Functions
  • Visual-Spatial Reasoning
  •  Auditory /Phonological Processing
  • Memory and Learning Functions
  • Executive Functions
  • Attention
  • Working Memory
  • Speed, Fluency and Efficiency of Processing
  • Language Ability
  • Academic Skills
  • Social-Emotional Functioning and Adaptive Behaviors

Following the School Neuropsychological Assessment, Dr. OConnor provides a comprehensive written Psychological  Report complete with evidence based recommendations. This report outlines the assessment findings. It describes the specific neuro-cognitive concerns the child exhibits, including their nature and extent. The young person's strengths are also explored, and used, when appropriate, to help the child compensate for the neuropsychological challenges he or she faces. The report also includes evidence based interventions to help the young person promote positive outcomes in the child.

When To Consider School Neuropsychological Testing

  • When the young person has a known or suspected neurological disorder (e.g., traumatic brain injury, acquired brain injury).
  • When the young person is returning to school after a head injury . 
  • When the young person has been diagnosed with or is showing signs of a head injury.
  • When the young person is showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or has been diagnosed with this disorder. 
  • For a child or adolescent with a known or suspected learning disability.
  • For 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.
  • For 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).
  • For children with neuromuscular diseases (e.g., cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy).
  • For children with central nervous system compromise (e.g., end-stage renal disease, HIV/AIDS, juvenile diabetes, leukemia, and spina-bifida, or hydrocephalus).
  • For children with neuro-developmental risk factors (e.g., prenatal exposure to alcohol, cocaine/marijuana exposure, environmental toxin exposure, nicotine exposure, low birth-weight and prematurity).
  • For children who show a dramatic drop in academic achievement that cannot be explained.
  • For a child who suffers from Post Traumatic Symptoms, and/or complex trauma, and is showing behavioral and/or learning problems.

A School Neuropsychological Assessment Can Help

Most children and adolescents spend the major part of their week 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, helps  lay the foundation for success in adulthood.  We use the findings gleaned from the school neuropsychological evaluation to help the young person cope successfully at school, in the community, and at home.

The School Neuropsychological Assessment 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.   

Dr. O'Connor's psychological assessments increase understanding of the psychological concerns that present in young people how to help. Get "beneath the surface" and learn more about what is contributing to and maintaining the psychological concerns in a young person that worry you. What are the young person's strengths and particular talents? What are his needs and what interventions are most likely to help?

Learn more about the challenges that a child, adolescent or young adult is showing and how to help.  Does she have a Learning Disability? Is she anxious  or feeling depressed and unsure of herself? Does she exhibit attention or behavior problems? Is she showing trauma symptoms, or symptoms of a brain injury?

How serious are these concerns? Do they require the support of a professional, and if so what kind of support would help? Find out how the young person is coping with specific challenges and stressors such as divorce or parental addiction? Is he/she feeling stressed? Does he/she lack self-esteem or confidence?

Psychological Assessments also lead to recommendations including parenting, teaching and treatment  interventions to help promote positive outcomes in the young people you care about and work with.

To learn more about school neuropsychology, click here.

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