When students consistently have a hard time in school, parents may wonder if there is something else happening below the surface.

Learning challenges, a broad term that can encompass issues like ADHD, dyslexia, and executive function problems, may be at the heart of a student’s academic struggles.

A neurospych assessment helps determine how a student’s brain functions when they’re learning. It may lead to a specific diagnosis, such as ADHD, or more general information about a student’s unique learning challenges.

Here are the basics of the neuropsych assessment:

    • Administered by a neuropsychologist
    • Takes up to 8 hours, over one or more days
    • Includes a variety of question types and testing methods
    • The neuropsychologist analyzes and compiles the results into a report

The assessments tests both general, or “innate” skills (verbal, spatial, attentional, memory, reasoning, and organizational) and academic skills (reading, math, spelling, writing).

After the report has been generated, the neuropsychologist will debrief. For a high schooler, the neuropsychologist might meet with the parents first, and then the student, in private conferences. The neuropsychologist will discuss the results and offer some recommendations, which can range from therapy to testing accommodation to medication.

Benefits:

A neuropsych assessment is general helpful to students in several ways:

    • Students may be relieved to have their difficulties recognized and out in the open.
    • Students may be able to avoid the feelings of guilt, frustration, stress, and anxiety that come along with unidentified learning challenges.
    • Students may be eligible for testing accommodations or other assistance or programming based on the assessment results.
    • Students will be able to advocate for themselves if their intentions or motivations come under question.
    • Students will have access to techniques to help them manage or overcome their circumstances.

On the other hand, some fear that receiving a label of “learning challenged” might excuse a poor work ethic or create a situation of learned helplessness. While these concerns do have some validity, our expert Dr. Pickar believes that the benefits of understanding a learning challenge far outweigh the risks. He does, however, recommend that students examine their behavioral patterns around academics and school, as there may be unhelpful habits that need to be replaced or reconfigured.

While Signet does not administer neuropsych assessments, we work closely with several excellent partners who have significantly helped a number of our students. Please reach out to us if we can support you in any way around neuropsych assessments or learning challenges.