Neuropsychology is the scientific study of brain-behavior relationships. Neuropsychological assessment yields an understanding of behavior while considering brain development and functioning. Most individuals referred for neuropsychological assessment have a history of abnormal brain development or functioning, a genetic syndrome, an acquired injury, a medical condition, or illness. Abnormal brain functioning resulting from the abovementioned causes can often be observed behaviorally in problems at school, difficulties with appropriate social interactions, trouble with self-help skills, conflicts at home, and emotional problems.
Individuals with known or suspected brain abnormalities/dysfunction should participate in a neuropsychological assessment instead of a psychoeducational evaluation because a more comprehensive and specialized assessment is often necessary for medical, school, and community planning.
Areas that may be examined during neuropsychological assessment include intellectual functioning, academic abilities, attention and executive functions, learning and memory, language, nonverbal skills, motor skills, self-help skills, behavior, social skills, emotional functioning, and personality. Common uses of neuropsychological evaluation include diagnosing clinical and medical disorders, estimating baseline functioning, monitoring changes of brain functioning over time, tracking decline or recovery of functioning in the presence of illness/injury, developing cognitive rehabilitation programs to aid in recovery from injury/illness, explaining the impact of a neuropsychological condition to family, school, and work settings to maximize functioning, and recommending appropriate placements and levels of care depending on the neuropsychological concerns.