Tests, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) scans, performed by medical providers can be used to examine the brain and the extent of physical injuries. Specialized testing, done by a neuropsychologist, evaluates a person’s thinking.
Neuropsychologists are trained mental health professionals who specialize in the psychological effects of injuries to the nervous system, and the relationship between the brain and a person’s behavior.
A neuropsychologist uses a number of cognitive tests for evaluation. These tests will identify cognitive areas where the patient is having difficulties, such as problems with short-term memory or decision making, and use these test results to help determine the most appropriate treatments.
The neuropsychologist will try to find out how the person functioned at home and in the community before the injury.
Testing that a neuropsychologist may perform will address areas such as:
- Attention span
- Receptive and expressive language
- New learning
- Mathematical reasoning
- Spatial perception
- Abstract and organizational thinking
- Problem solving
- Social judgment
- Motor abilities
- Sensory awareness
- Emotional characteristics
- General psychological adjustment
These cognitive tests can take several hours to complete.
Based on test results, the healthcare team will develop a treatment plan to treat cognitive difficulties. Occupational therapists (OTs) and speech language pathologists (SLPs) are part of the healthcare team who specialize in this type of treatment.