Pediatric neuropsychology is the study, diagnosis, and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders in children. This specialty also provides psychological care for cognitive learning disorders, as well as childhood neurological and medical conditions. Pediatric neuropsychology acknowledges that the brain influences cognition, which impacts functioning and behavior. Pediatric neuropsychologists use this connection between the brain and behavior to better understand the behavioral or intellectual implications of certain conditions. Pediatric neuropsychologists are not medical doctors, but possess a doctorate in the relevant neurology or psychology fields and additional training in pediatrics. The following conditions may be evaluated and treated by neuropsychologists:
Pediatric neuropsychologists use a variety of diagnostic procedures to assess children's mental health and functioning. A neuropsychology diagnosis may consist of a four-part evaluation that begins with an interview with a child's caregivers and family members. Neuropsychologists host this interview to gain a greater understanding of the child's developmental background and capabilities. Next, neuropsychologists may review the child's medical history records, school reports, and prior evaluations. Third, neuropsychologists administer several tests to assess children's cognitive abilities; these tests measure language, learning and memory, perceptual skills, concentration, social relations, and abstract thinking. Finally, neuropsychologists lead a discussion with the child's family where they can share their analysis and interpret test results.
Following neuropsychological evaluations, neuropsychologists provide reports with advice and detailed treatment recommendations. Neuropsychologists may additionally perform the following services:
Pediatric neuropsychologists may collaborate with pediatric neurologists, pediatric psychologists or psychiatrists, forensic psychiatrists, speech language pathologists, as well as social service, school, and juvenile justice professionals.