What is neuropsychology?

By Thomas G. Burns, Psy.D., ABPP/ABCN

Neuropsychology is a subspecialty of psychology concerned with the relationship between the brain and behavior, including the diagnosis of brain pathology through the use of psychological tests and assessment techniques. The neuropsychologist uses a systematic assessment procedure, called a neuropsychological evaluation, to determine the extent of any possible behavioral deficits following diagnosed or suspected brain injury. Following diagnosis, many patients are then treated with an individualized cognitive remediation protocol. Cognitive remediation is a therapeutic approach oriented toward helping these patients overcome such cognitive deficits.

The neuropsychological evaluation is the most helpful tool in determining how neurological and/or psychiatric factors may contribute to a child's condition. Such conditions may include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injury or head injury
  • Brain tumors
  • Genetic disorders
  • Stroke
  • Chronic medical conditions
  • Epilepsy
  • Degenerative disease
  • Developmental disorders
  • Spinal cord injury or pediatric neurosurgical spinal disorder
  • Neurological injury
  • Central nervous system infections
  • Hypocephalus
  • Cerebral palsy and neuromuscular disorders
  • Headaches and tics
  • Myelodysplasia