Why to consider a "Neuropsych Eval" and other FAQ
What is neuropsychological / neurodevelopmental testing? Why would my child need this?
A neuropsychological assessment provides a comprehensive understanding of your child’s functioning in many domains, including cognitive, academic, attention, executive functioning, memory, and social-emotional. Each testing battery includes core tests to gain an understanding of your child’s unique learning profile and then includes an individualized, targeted battery of tests to answer questions about your child’s strengths and challenges. The results of this testing provide invaluable recommendations relative to how your child learns and functions best. It may also result in a diagnosis, such as ADHD, learning disorder, autism spectrum disorder or anxiety (among other possible diagnoses).
Neurodevelopmental testing refers to looking closely at a young child’s developmental profile, including early cognitive, language, play, social and motor functioning. This also includes adaptive measures for parents to fill out. These kinds of evaluations are sought by families who worry about an aspect of their young child’s development, particularly with regards to developmental delays or autism. As with neuropsychological testing, this type of testing can provide important information about early intervention needs for your child as well as diagnostic clarity in order to best tailor interventions to your child’s unique needs.
Why might your child need this kind of assessment? Many parents have concerns including: "My child is so smart when he applies himself, but when he’s not interested he seems to just check out" or "her teacher said that her reading is fine, she’s just a little slow to pick it up, but she’s been so fast to pick up everything else" or "he gets so upset when things don’t go his way and he just can’t talk to me about it." If your child has struggled with attention, learning, anxiety, or developing friendships and you’re just not sure what’s getting in their way, a more targeted evaluation may be useful. We are more than happy to discuss your unique situation to help you sort out whether comprehensive testing is right for your child. We can offer insight into the variety of options that might be available for you.
All right, I think my child needs an evaluation. What now?
First, reach out to us to discuss your concerns and whether comprehensive testing is right for your child. If testing is the next step and we are the right fit for your family, we will schedule an initial session. There are ebbs and flows to referrals, so feel free to call or email to inquire about availability. Often end of summer/beginning of the school year is busiest. We will schedule 1-2 sessions based on your child’s preference and our recommendations. Often middle school and younger will come in for two sessions while high school or older can complete testing in one long day. Overall, you can expect to spend 6-8 hours in face to face testing sessions. We will write a report within 2-4 weeks and we will meet to discuss results. We also can meet with your child’s school team or complete a classroom observation if that feels helpful. We are also available for follow up questions as needed. For older children (middle school or above), we also write a letter to them outlining, in developmentally appropriate terms, the results of the testing. With regards to payment, all clients must provide payment information in the beginning of the testing process. We accept all major credit cards (including most HSA cards).
Do you accept insurance?
We wish we could! The short answer is that insurance does not allow us to offer many of the services that we offer in private practice. As you may well know from discussing whether neuropsychological testing is covered by your insurance, insurance companies are quite erratic in their coverage and denials are common. It is impossible to run an independent practice that completes the type of tailored and comprehensive evaluations that we do and to accept insurance. That said, we know privately paying for testing is a luxury that not all families have. We are more than happy to discuss your options with you. We can schedule at a time that is convenient to your family, and complete as many measures as needed while really exploring learning profiles. If you have more questions, please reach out!
How do I choose the right person to work with my child?
There are a variety of factors that go into choosing the right psychologist to work with you, your child and your family. Ask friends, schools and colleagues for recommendations. The first contact is important, as you will get a feel for how the psychologist will engage with you and your family. Make sure to ask about qualifications, credentials and experience. Ask them if they have any areas of special expertise. There are many disorders that require specialized training and assessment tools, so if you are worried about a particular diagnosis, make sure to ask about that psychologist's ability to complete those types of evaluations. You should also ensure that the psychologist is experienced in working with someone your child’s age. Dr. Rachel Leary, Director of Neuropsychological+Neurodevelopmental Testing at Riser+Tread has extensive training working with infants and toddlers as well as school age children, adolescents and young adults. Not everyone has trained with all those age ranges. Make sure to ask what the testing experience will be like for your child and what is included. How many sessions will there be? How much follow up is there? How long is the wait list? How long will it take to receive the written report? If the school wants a consultation, is that an additional fee? Sometimes places that accept insurance have additional fees that they charge for services that are outside insurance reimbursement, so it is important to be clear what fees you will be responsible for at the outset. We do not accept insurance, but you can be confident that our fee covers assessment sessions (typically 1-2 sessions) as well as feedback, written report, school consultation and school meetings. We always say that testing is only as good as the recommendations and follow through, so we are available to support implementing recommendations for as long as you need! It is also important to reiterate that you need to feel a connection with the psychologist and know that they will truly get to know your child.
Do you specialize in any particular area of testing?
Dr. Rachel Leary, Director of Neuropsychological+Neurodevelopmental Testing at Riser+Tread has received intensive training in many areas, which allows her to say that she is both a generalist and a specialist. She began her training working with school aged children and adolescents in high achieving private schools, focusing on ADHD and learning challenges within these high functioning communities. While completing this training, she also completed comprehensive social-emotional evaluations for children with severe behavioral and emotional disabilities. Dr. Leary received specialized training in developmental disorders (Autism, Intellectual Disabilities, ADHD, learning challenges) at the Developmental Medicine Center in Boston Children’s Hospital, focusing on Autism Spectrum Disorder evaluations and working with infants and toddlers during this time. She has worked closely with a local school for gifted children, and as a result has developed expertise in the unique needs that gifted children have with regards to their learning and their social-emotional development. Dr. Leary has many areas of specialization, which allows her to see a broad range of children and families at Riser+Tread. Testing Packages offered at Riser+Tread are listed below: