What to Expect During an Evaluation

“It always seems impossible, until it’s done.”

Why Was I Referred for an Evaluation?

Psychological and neuropsychological assessments serve several important purposes. For example, they can:
  • Establish a baseline of cognitive and emotional functioning
  • Document skills before problems become apparent
  • Help to establish the progression of functioning
  • Identify problems related to medical conditions that can affect thinking skills
  • Help tell apart between illnesses that can have similar symptoms
  • Help plan treatment to maximize strengths and overcome weaknesses
  • Identify accommodations that may be helpful in maximizing functioning at work or school
The results from the evaluation will help your treatment team develop the most effective treatment plan for you, taking into account your individual strengths and weaknesses.

What Should I Bring to the Evaluation?

  • Your ID and insurance cards
  • Cash, check, or credit card for any co-pay you may have
  • Glasses / reading glasses
  • Light snack and a drink (we can provide water and coffee)
  • A list of your current medications
  • A list of doctors you would like us to send your final report to (the report will automatically be sent to the referring provider)
  • The date and time of your next appointment with the referring provider

What Happens During the Appointment?

When you first arrive for your appointment, you will get checked-in and will be asked to show your identification card and insurance information. We will give you some forms to fill out so that we can start to get to know you.
Then, we will spend some time talking about how you are doing, what has been going on, and what you are concerned about. We will also briefly talk about your school and work history, any family medical problems there may be, how you are feeling in terms of mood and health, and how you are sleeping and eating. You are welcome to bring as many family members, friends, or caregivers as you wish with you to this part of the evaluation.
After the initial interview, your doctor will walk you through the testing portion of the evaluation. You will be working with your doctor for about 3-4 hours but there are lots of opportunities to take breaks, eat a snack, drink some coffee, or simply rest. 
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What Is the Evaluation Like?

You will not be poked or prodded, pricked or pinched. We will simply ask you questions and you will be working hand-in-hand with your doctor for the entire session. This portion of the evaluation involves a number of different tasks, most of which are done sitting at a table with your doctor. The testing is broken up into several short tasks, each of which takes from about two to 15 minutes to complete.
We will look at areas including:
  • Attention
  • Working memory
  • Processing speed
  • Language
  • Visuospatial abilities
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Executive abilities
  • Personality
  • Social-emotional functioning 
The duration of testing depends largely on the complexity of your situation as well as your personal limits. Your doctor will ask you frequently how you are feeling and doing and will give you ample opportunities to talk about any concerns or questions you have. 
Importantly, there are no right or wrong answers on testing, we just ask that you do your best.

When Do I Get My Results?

Following the testing, your doctor will take some time to review the scores and integrate the information into a treatment plan and recommendations.

Your test scores will be compared to scores from large groups of healthy individuals who are your age, your education, your gender, and/or your racial/ethnic background in order to determine whether your abilities fall within the normal range of functioning and to identify your personal strengths and weaknesses.

You will receive a copy of your results within 1-2 weeks of the evaluation and will have an opportunity to schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss the results with your doctor.


What Happens After the Evaluation?

A comprehensive report containing all of the interview data, test results, interpretations, recommendations, and diagnoses will be sent to you and your referring provider within 2-3 weeks of your appointment.
The results of the evaluation will be used by your treatment team in conjunction with neurological, psychiatric, or other evaluations in order to make decisions regarding your care.
Patients often return for follow-up evaluations about 1-3 years after the initial assessment in order to check-in on progress and to identify any changes that may have occurred over that time period.
These evaluations are typically shorter than the first session since we will just be checking in on your performance. 1-2

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