Updated: Jan 5, 2022
What is a neurodevelopment and neuropsychology?
If you've made it to my page, you may have concerns about yourself or your child. With terms "neurodevelopmental" and "neuropsychological" evaluations being thrown around, it may be difficult to understand how this process can practically help you or your family. If that's the case, please read on.
"Neuro" means brain and "neurodevelopment" is phrase referring to the emerging brain's development of neurological pathways. These pathways influence functioning (e.g., reading ability, social skills, attention, memory, etc). In a child's case, these developments are emerging and growing at a rapid pace.
Neurodevelopmental disorders are characterized as delays that occur early in a child's life, many times before a child enters elementary school, and can persist throughout the person's lifetime. These brain functioning limitations can impact a person's emotions, behavior, attention, cognition, memory, ability to learn, socialize, and maintain self-control. Although occurring early in development, if a child has exceptional skills or strengths, these limitations may be overlooked. A child may find ways to compensate for their weaknesses that may make deficits more subtle, nuances, and difficult to pinpoint.
Neuropsychology emerged as a field that assisted in the localization of brain damage; however, currently the focus in neuropsychological assessment with children and adolescents revolves around the following tenets.
Neuropsychology distinguishes behaviors that are considered to be within a normal develop- mental framework from those considered to be alterations of the central nervous system given the child’s social-environmental context.
Neuropsychology seeks to identify and explain the various learning deficits or disorders that are associated with impaired brain function.
Neuropsychology is concerned with evaluating the neurodevelopmental course of specific sub- types of learning disabilities to improve early identification and intervention.
Neuropsychologists monitor the recovery of function following brain injury and neurosurgery, and measure the effects of possible deterioration of function associated with degenerative brain diseases.
Neuropsychologists focus on understanding the cognitive, behavioral, intellectual, attentional, motoric, memory, and personality deficits associated with traumatic brain injury.
Neuropsychology investigates the psychiatric disorders of children with severe neurological disorders.
Neuropsychology assists in the design of remediation programs, particularly when used within an integrated clinical framework.