During your time at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, your family will meet several specialists. Each of these caregivers is specialized in his or her field of study and plays an important role in your child’s treatment:
- A psychologist has a doctoral degree. A psychologist has studied how the brain works and how this affects the way a person thinks, acts or feels.
- A neuropsychologist is typically a psychologist who has additional training and experience in understanding brain-behavior relationships. A neuropsychologist has a doctoral degree in psychology, known as a PhD or PsyD. A neuropsychologist usually works in cooperation with psychiatrists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, physiatrists and other medical specialists to coordinate a child’s care.
- A pediatric neuropsychologist has additional training or experience specifically in working with children and adolescents and their special needs. Children’s has full-time pediatric neuropsychologists on staff to provide assessment and consultation services for a variety of problems in children and adolescents, from infancy through young adulthood.
- A psychometrist is a person who has received training in psychology or a related field with an emphasis in tests and measurement. The basic function of a psychometrist is to administer and score psychological tests under the direct supervision of a clinical psychologist.
What is the difference between a clinical psychologist and a neuropsychologist?
A clinical psychologist will look at how your child thinks, acts and feels. A neuropsychologist will assess how your child’s brain affects his thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Children’s is proud to have a team of pediatric neuropsychologists on staff. These specialists can help with the mental and emotional needs of your child, from birth to age 21. As your child grows, so does his brain, and our neuropsychology team is here to help at every stage.
At Children’s, we use advanced diagnosis, treatment and neuroimaging technology to provide better outcomes for your child. One tool that helps us evaluate your child is a systematic test called a neuropsychological evaluation, which helps our physicians learn if there are behavioral issues following a diagnosed or suspected brain injury.
The neuropsychological evaluation is the most helpful tool in determining how neurological and/or psychiatric factors may contribute to a child’s condition.
Before the evaluation, we will:
- Look at your child’s medical and school records.
- Ask about your child’s developmental, social and family histories.
- Ask you and your child’s teacher to fill out forms about his learning and behavior.
During the evaluation, we will:
- Use tests to check how your child thinks and behaves. The tests can take one to five hours. This might happen on more than one day.
After the evaluation, we will:
- Look at your child’s test results. We will talk to you about the results. We will make suggestions to help him at home and at school.
- Make a plan to help your child. We will work with your child’s teachers and doctors.
- Help you start your child’s plan so he can reach his goals.
If diagnosed with a brain injury, a patient is then treated with an individualized cognitive remediation plan. Cognitive remediation is a therapeutic approach oriented toward helping these patients overcome cognitive deficits.