Neuropsychology is about the relationship between the brain and a person’s thinking abilities, behaviour, social abilities and emotional responses.
Clinical neuropsychologists are trained to understand, assess and treat the cognitive and behavioural effects of conditions impacting on brain function. This includes degenerative disorders (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease), Traumatic Brain Injury, drug/alcohol abuse, psychiatric and neurological disorders.
Clinical neuropsychologists are trained in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the brain. These include neurological, medical and psychiatric conditions, developmental disorders, learning disabilities, and acquired brain injury.
A neuropsychological assessment usually involves an initial interview, where your medical history and other background information is obtained. Following this, you will be given a number of tests that examine various areas of thinking (e.g. memory, problem solving, attention), emotions, and everyday behaviour. Many of these tests are paper and pencil tests, and might seem a little like things you did when at school.
These assessments vary in length, depending on their purpose. A short screening assessment might take only 2 hours, whereas an assessment for an insurance claim will more usually take 7–8 hours (across two sessions). You will be provided with rest breaks.
A neuropsychological assessment can be mentally demanding, so the best preparation is to get a good night’s rest the night before your appointment, and avoid physically or mentally draining activities. As the session can take many hours, it is recommended that you do not schedule any important activities for the remainder of the day.
You cannot study for this type of assessment. It is intended to be an accurate snap-shot of how you are currently functioning.
It is important that heavy alcohol consumption or illicit drug use are avoided for one to three days before the assessment, as they can impact test performance. However, it is important that you continue to take medication as prescribed by your doctor.
Please bring the following items to your assessment session:
Photo identification such as a driving license or passport. Alternatively, a photograph will be taken for identification purposes.
It is helpful to bring a family member or friend to the appointment, but they will not be present during testing. So as not to interfere with testing, you will be asked to turn mobile or electronic devices off, or to silent mode.