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Is There A Difference Between Neuropsychological, Psychological, and Psychoeducational Testing...Yes

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

Neuropsychological evaluation According to the National Academy of Neuropsychology (2001), neuropsychology is the “applied science of brain-behavior relationships.” One of the distinct differences between school psychologists, traditional psychologists, and neuropsychologists is that fact that neuropsychologists apply a working understanding of psychology, physiology, and neurology to assess, diagnose, and treat patients (D’Amato, Fletcher-Janzen, & Reynolds, 2005). A neuropsychological evaluation allows the examiner to provide objective evidence to cognitive dysfunction and reduce the subjectivity in that can be seen by the patient, the patient’s family, and/or traditional neurological examinations through an assessments that leads to quantifiable standardized scores and also allows for a more sensitive baseline for comparisons over time.

Neuropsychological evaluations are a comprehensive type of evaluation administered verbally and through paper-pencil tests that are aimed at understanding how an individual’s specific brain functions (i.e, attention, language, and memory) are impacting their cognitive and behavioral functioning. The results of a neuropsychological evaluation are intended to identify strengths and weaknesses that may contributing to an individual’s cognitive (e.g., language disorder, memory dysfunction, attention problems) or psychological difficulty. The data can provide information to determine if a cognitive deficit is from a neurological disorder that the individual is being treated or evaluated for by their medical team. Such disorders may include: Dementia (e.g., Alzheimer’s type, Vascular, FTD, Mixed, etc.), Mild Neurocognitive Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury/Head Injury, Seizure Disorder, Brain Tumor, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Genetic Disorders (e.g., Huntington’s disease).

Psychological Assessement

A psychological assessment is an evaluation to determine the extent and nature of a mental illness. It may be used to rule-in or rule-out the presence of a thought disorder or other serious psychiatric diagnosis that has been unable to be made by other methods. Psychological Testing consists of a set of tasks or questions intended to elicit particular types of behavior when presented under standardized conditions, and intended to yield scores that will have desirable psychometric properties, such as acceptable levels of reliability and validity. Tests include standardized aptitude and achievement instruments, diagnostic and evaluative devices, interest inventories, personality inventories, and projective instruments.

Psychoeducational assessment Psychoeducational assessments typically focus on helping to understand the road blocks that prevent school aged children from performing their best academically. The purpose of the assessment to obtain information about your child’s learning style and academic strengths and weaknesses. One primary goal of a psychoeducational assessment is often to determine whether an individual has a specific learning disorder or a more subtle academic problem requiring remediation or supportive classroom accommodations. The data can provide information leading to the diagnosis of a learning disability such as Reading Disorder, Nonverbal Learning Disability, Math Disorder, Disorder of Written Expression, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Visual-Motor Integration Disorder. The results of a psychoeducational assessment can be used to document the need for accommodations in school or on standardized testing, as well as document the eligibility for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). In addition, the outcome of the assessment can help explain behaviors such as inattention, homework struggles, poor organization, impulsivity, and/or reduced frustration tolerance. Hopefully that brief breakdown between the types of evaluations will make it easier for you when trying to determine which evaluation best suits your needs. At the NJ Memory Center, we provide neuropsychological evaluations for adults (over 18 years old). Unfortunately we do not provide psychoeducational evaluations. If you live in the New Jersey or New York area and would like to schedule a neuropsychological evaluation for yourself or a family member in order to determine if there have been any potential cognitive changes related to medical conditions or that would be considered atypical or unexpected for your age please contact Dr. Corey Burchette at 201-577-8286 to inquire about scheduling an appointment at the New Jersey Memory Center which is located in Verona, New Jersey.

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