Anneli Kaariainen, Ph.D., Pediatric Neuropsychologist
Pediatric neuropsychology is a specialty of psychology focused on learning and behavior in relationship to a child’s brain. A pediatric neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist with expertise in how learning and behavior are associated with the development of brain structures and systems. Formal testing of abilities (i.e. memory, language, attention, visual spatial) assesses brain functioning. A pediatric neuropsychologist conducts the evaluation, and is then responsible for interpreting the test results and making recommendations.
School psychological assessments differ from a pediatric neuropsychological evaluation in several significant ways. School assessments are usually performed to determine whether a child qualifies for special education programs. School assessments focus on achievement for academic success and typically do not diagnose learning or behavior disorders caused by altered brain function or development.
Children can be referred for a pediatric neuropsychological evaluation by any number of people, including primary care physicians, pediatricians, neurologists, child psychiatrists, psychologists, teachers, and other school officials. Furthermore, parents also self-refer as they often independently seek a pediatric neuropsychological evaluation for their child.
Typical issues that lead to someone seeking a pediatric neuropsychological evaluation for their child include: difficulties in learning (i.e. reading difficulties), behavior, socialization, attention, or problems with emotional regulation. These symptoms can be due to medical conditions such as brain injury, birth trauma, physical illness, or developmental problems.
A pediatric neuropsychological evaluation commonly assesses the following areas: IQ, school achievement, judgment, planning, decision making, attention, learning and memory, language, visual spatial and motor coordination, behavioral, and social-emotional functioning. In addition to the formal testing provided, detailed developmental history of the child is obtained from the parents. Information or behavioral rating scales are also obtained from the child’s teacher (with consent from the parents) to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the child’s functioning in the academic setting.
Upon completion of the evaluation, the pediatric neuropsychologist provides recommendations on what type of treatment is necessary to correct any weaknesses or problems that surfaced during the evaluation. The results and recommendations of the pediatric neuropsychological evaluation will guide teachers, therapists and parents to better help the child achieve his or her maximum potential.
For more information visit:
Long Island Pediatric Neuropsychologist