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Neuropsychology

Neuropsychology is a specialty within the field of psychology that focuses on the relationship between brain function and personality and behavior. A licensed neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist trained to evaluate various brain functions in order to determine the nature of damage or illness affecting the brain by identifying how a person can and cannot perform various cognitive tasks. Once the problem is identified, neuropsychologists develop and implement treatment programs designed to help people relearn how to perform tasks that have been lost or impaired due to trauma or illness. This is called cognitive rehabilitation.

A neuropsychological evaluation usually includes an extensive interview, review of medical records, specialized psychological testing of cognitive functions, and also personality assessment. Neuropsychologists may evaluate intelligence, attentional skills, cognitive functioning, reasoning ability and academic skills. They also assess memory function, language skills, sensory and motor skills, and spatial relations. This comprehensive assessment allows them to identify what areas of the brain are not functioning properly, and to develop a plan to address any identified problems.

Some of the problems that may be assessed and treated by neuropsychologists include:

  • Pervasive developmental disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Asperger's syndrome
  • Learning disorders
  • Language disorders
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Seizure disorders
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Alcohol related brain impairment
  • HIV related brain impairment