Coffman Neuropsychological Services LLCĀ 

Tools and Resources

Pediatric Neuropsych Tools

Pediatric Neuropsychological Evaluations are important tools for understanding the basis for many complex neuro and social conditions in children.  A good evaluation provides an understanding of the underlying problems, resulting abilities and disabilities, and clinically validates options for treatment.  It is an invaluable part of improving the lives of children experiencing cognitive, emotional, social or behavioral problems.
Tools for Parents:
Tools for Clinicians:  

  • Coming soon - Helping Parents Understand  Why a  Pediatric Neuropsychological Evaluation is an Important  Diagnostic and Treatment Tool   
  • Coming soon:  professional links

A  Checklist for Parents:   When Should You Be Concerned?


Young children (under 5)
Older children (elementary & middle school age)

If your child is slow to develop:
  • s/he speaks later than brothers, sisters or friends
  • s/he are difficult to understand when they try to speak
  •  s/he don’t seem to understand what you are saying as well as other kids their age do
  •  s/he seem less coordinated  than other kids
  •  s/he have a hard time getting along with other kids
  •  s/he don’t seem to understand or be able to comply with behavior rules
  • s/he is excessively moody or acts unpredictably
If  your child
  • is excessively active or can’t sit still for quiet activities
  • shows variability in alertness 
  •  seems inattentive and is easily distracted
  • can only concentrate on things s/he is really interested in
If your child has difficulty
  •  understanding  the teacher  
  • knowing how to do homework assignments
  •  handling frustration about school work
  • reading grade-level books
  • following instructions
  •  organizing time, work or multi-step tasks
  •  learning in some subjects while others seem easy
If your child
  •  shows signs of anger, hostility or uncooperative behavior
  •  experiences a substantial mood or personality change   
  • can’t get along with friends or family members 
  •  is excessively active or can’t sit still for quiet activities
  •  shows variability in alertness 
  • seems inattentive and is easily distracted 
  • can only concentrate on things s/he is really interested in 
  • seems to understand rules but doesn’t act as if they apply to him/her
If  your teen
  • has difficulty with the more advanced academic work in high school 
  •  can’t seem to handle the multiple demands of a variety of courses and teachers 
  • seems to read at a slow pace or can’t finish assignments with expected time frames 
  • has never met a planner/calendar s/he couldn’t lose 
  • has more difficulty learning a foreign language than peers 
  •  finds learning in some subjects difficult while others seem easy 
  • has difficulty forming or keeping friendships 
  •  has self-control problems (more than peers)
  • can’t stay focused or attentive for extended time
  •  seems to understand rules but doesn’t act as if they apply to him/her
Parents, while regular visits with your pediatrician monitor your child’s health and physical     development, sometimes your child’s teacher alerts you to problems and sometimes you just know something isn’t quite right.  In such situations, a neuropsych assessment can help you understand your child’s thinking, learning, and social/emotional abilities.  It also identifies your child’s strengths and learning style.  This helps teachers individualize their teaching style to be most effective for your child.
A neuropsych assessment doesn’t hurt; isn’t painful and isn’t like school. No shots, no machines, no physical exams.  An effective child neuropsychologist will engage your child in a variety of activities which most kids enjoy.  It’s one on one in a comfortable office.   Chatting and questions, drawing, creating three dimensional designs, memory games and puzzle-like activities take place over several hours with breaks as needed to keep your child comfortable.
Next the psychologist will analyze test results and integrate their observations and expertise.  You will be able to meet with the psychologist to discuss the findings, implications and recommendations in about a week.  Your teen may want to be part of this conversation.  Later, a written report/letter is provided. If you decide, it can be shared with your pediatrician and teachers to benefit your child.

Preparing Your Child for a NeurpPsych Assessment

Mom, Dad or both usually meet with the psychologist first  to discuss concerns and the child's individual development and history.  Thus, you will have an opportunity to get to know the psyhologist and can describe him or her to your child.  Everyone at CNS takes a great deal of pleasure in talking and interacting with children.  It is important to reassure your child that the psychologist who will be seeing him or her.. . "likes kids and seems like a really nice person."

Many parents want their child to know that s/he will be seeing a doctor, while other parents know that the use of the title "Dr." may be worrying to their child.  It is not important to us, so you should describe us in a way that will be the most comfortable to your child.  Just let us know.   It is important that s/he knows that there will be fun things to do, but there are no needles. physical exam, or anything painful if that is a question asked. 

When explaining to your child what will take place, we typically suggest avaoiding the words "games" and "tests" in favor of neutral terms such as "activities"  followed by examples such as talking and drawing or a description of "doing things such as answering questions and looking at pictures."  Again, the idea is to reassure your child that the evaluation is not stressful or unpleasant.  It is also fine to tell your child that some of the things s/he will be asked to do may seem really easy and some things may seem  hard.  There aren't right or wrong answers to many of the questions.   Letting him or her know that trying to do what is asked is important, but that it is ok to tell the psychologist that something seems too hard if after trying with good effort, s/he cannot do it.

Usually it is a good idea to bring snacks that will be something special for your child.  You will want to avoid messy items such as gooey candy, fruit tapes or leathers, etc.  Many children do not want or need snack breaks, but it is better to have something just in case  - especially young children.  We usually allow about 30 minutes for a lunch break.  You may want to bring a bag lunch with favorite items or go to a nearby sandwich shop.

Parents of young children almost always want to stay in the waiting area outside the testing room, so bring things you can read or work on during the time your child is with the psychologist.  Older children and teens are usually comfortable if their parent leaves the waiting area to run short errands or explore historic Lexington.  We do ask that you leave a cell phone number or another way to contact you in case of need before you return for lunch or before the end of the test session.

Your child's neuropsych assessment should be a good experience that will help guide you and others in supporting your child's development and long term future.

Call (781) 863-1360
Fax:  (781) 863-1366

Coffman Neuropsychological Services LLC
76 Bedford Street, Suite 17
Lexington, MA  02420


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