Here are some of the most frequent questions we get from new and existing clients.
Children who carry the diagnosis of Asperger’s Disorder (now called Autism Spectrum Disorder) have features in their developmental history and in their social interactions in the office that help to make this diagnosis. There are features in neuropsychological testing that are commonly associated with Asperger’s Disorder also, so this is an added evaluation component that other mental health professionals cannot offer.
Yes. Adolescents and adults too.
Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) is a learning problem that affects visual/spatial reasoning and visual pattern recognition. Usually, this learning problem does not affect early reading and spelling. The typical NLD student starts to have difficulty in middle school with subjects like geography, science and geometry because these subjects rely on strong visual reasoning skills. NLD students often have social difficulties because it is hard for them to interpret the visual cues that are so important in social interactions (i.e., facial expression, body language). Because of this problem with social interactions, NLD students are often misdiagnosed as Asperger’s Disorder.
Bipolar Disorder refers to mood and behavior self-regulation difficulties. In children and adolescents, the preferred diagnosis is Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD). Neuropsychological and projective testing are often useful is assessing self-regulation capacities.
This is a common problem and it is not possible to give a simple answer because there are many different difficulties that can produce this pattern. For example, suppose your child can read grade-level materials but her reading speed is 50% of the normal speed for her age. The school’s testing will show grade-appropriate reading performance; the child will be frustrated at home because reading assignments take twice as long. Poor attention skills, reading comprehension difficulties and emotional problems are other possible explanations for this situation.
We are psychologists, so we do not make specific medication recommendations (and we are not medication prescribers). We do identify (and evaluate the severity of) problems that are amenable to medication intervention: Mood regulation, depressed mood, attention, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and thought disorders.
Neuropsychological and clinical testing can often be useful in this situation. Family conflicts over academic performance (to give one example) may not respond well to counseling if the nature and severity of a child’s learning disability is not clearly understood.
Yes. Adults have become increasingly aware that attention difficulties can have adverse effects on relationships and on performance at work.
There are memory, attention and spatial reasoning difficulties that have been associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and testing can help to identify these patterns (and determine the severity). It is best to consult your primary care physician before considering neuropsychological evaluation to rule out physical causes for a memory problem.
Testing would be able to document skills that are often adversely affected in mild traumatic brain injury, such as memory, attention and speed of processing. Most accident victims consult a neurologist before obtaining a neuropsychological evaluation.