Pediatric Neuropsychological Assessment at our Montreal Clinic

Tailored Evaluations for Children

Initiating the process of a pediatric neuropsychological assessment involves understanding the intricate web of challenges a child, adolescent or young adult might face in their cognitive, emotional and academic development. This journey often starts when a pediatric neuropsychologist is consulted to explore concerns related to neurological or psychiatric problems that manifest in various aspects of a child’s functioning. Whether it’s hurdles in academic skills, behavioral shifts, or social interaction difficulties, these issues signal the need for a comprehensive evaluation.

By focusing on the neuropsychological evaluation of children, adolescents, and young adults, our clinic aims to illuminate the specific strengths and challenges each individual faces. This understanding paves the way for personalized strategies that enhance functioning in school, at home, and in social settings, ultimately contributing to a richer, more supportive environment for growth and learning.

What Is Pediatric Neuropsychology?

Pediatric neuropsychology is a dedicated field that blends elements of psychology, neurology, and education to understand the developing brain of a child or adolescent. Our clinic specializes in evaluating how a child’s cognitive functions affect their learning, behavior, and social adaptation.

Unlike traditional therapy that focuses on addressing emotional and psychological issues through counseling, pediatric neuropsychology seeks to uncover the underlying cognitive processes influencing a child’s difficulties. This approach leads to a comprehensive understanding of the child’s strengths and challenges, providing a foundation for tailored interventions, accommodations, and strategies to support their development.

The Importance of Pediatric Neuropsychological Testing

A pediatric neuropsychological assessment is a specialized diagnostic process, during which the child’s intellectual and executive functioning, attention, memory, language, perception, motor function and academic skills are all examined.

This process enables the neuropsychologist to identify the child’s overall cognitive profile in order to conclude in a precise diagnosis, through the systematic elimination of all other causes capable of explaining the difficulties experienced. This holistic approach provides insight into the child’s reality and offers numerous benefits, including:

Our pediatric neuropsychological evaluations employ standardized tools to explore various cognitive and emotional aspects, leading to diagnoses or insights into a child’s challenges. Here are some conditions and areas we assess. Click on the + button to see the traits that typically prompt an evaluation for each difficulty, as well as an example of the assessments that might be used.

Developmental Challenges and Diagnoses in Children

Types of Assessments for Developmental Challenges and Diagnoses

Traits: Inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity.

Assessment: Tests like the Conners’ Rating Scales and continuous performance tasks assess attention and impulse control.

Developmental Delays

Traits: Lag in achieving developmental milestones in areas like motor skills, speech, or social skills.

Assessment: Developmental screenings, standardized tests to assess specific delays, and observations of developmental progress.

Behaviors: Social difficulties, repetitive behaviors, communication challenges.

Assessment: Observational tools, social skills assessments, and communication assessments like the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule).

Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Behaviors: Mood swings, anxiety, depression, aggression.

Assessment: Questionnaires, interviews, and inventories like the Beck Youth Inventories assess emotional well-being.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Behaviors: Persistent patterns of defiance, hostility, and disobedience toward authority figures.

Assessment: Clinical interviews, behavioral observations, parent and teacher questionnaires.

Traits: Exceptional intellectual abilities, advanced language skills, early curiosity and problem-solving.
Assessment: IQ tests like the Wechsler Scales, evaluation of creative and critical thinking abilities.

Behaviors: Struggles with reading, writing, or math despite average intelligence.

Assessment: Academic achievement tests (Woodcock-Johnson, for example) help identify specific learning challenges.

Language Disorder or Dysphasia

Traits: Difficulty with language comprehension, expression, and/or speech sound production.

Assessment: Language tests assessing vocabulary, grammar, and speech production; may involve communication assessments.

Neurological Disorders (e.g., Tourette Syndrome, head traumas, epilepsy):

Traits: Varied depending on the specific disorder. For example, tics in Tourette Syndrome, cognitive or motor impairments post-head trauma, and seizures in epilepsy.

Assessment: Neurological examinations, medical history, and sometimes brain imaging for head traumas.

It’s essential to note that these behaviors should be considered in the context of normal development. Sometimes, what may seem like an issue is within the typical range of behavior for a child’s age. Neuropsychological assessments aim to distinguish between developmental quirks and clinically significant difficulties. Below, find overviews of how a neuropsychological assessment typically unfolds for young children versus older children and adolescents to gain a deeper understanding into how the testing differentiates between expected behaviour and a clinical diagnosis.

Neuropsychological evaluations can vary based on age due to the developmental changes that occur over time. For children under 7, assessments often focus on basic cognitive functions, motor skills, and social-emotional development. Tests might involve observing how they interact with others, basic language skills, and motor coordination.

During assessments for very young children, there’s often a focus on naturalistic observations to evaluate social skills, emotional regulation and overall behavior as they arise naturally. Testing often includes tools like the the Conners-3 scale or the Socio-Affective Profile, as well as the Weschler Preschool and Primary scale of Intelligence (WPPSI), or the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). Observational play-based assessments are common, as they allow clinicians to observe behavior in a natural setting.

For a bit of extra context that might help you put your mind at ease and also help you begin to guide your child in this process, here are the typical steps of a neuropsychological assessment for this age group:

The Assessment Process for Children Under 8 years old

As children age, assessments become more comprehensive, incorporating a wider range of cognitive abilities, academic skills, and emotional well-being. For older children and teenagers, tests might involve memory, attention, problem-solving, and academic achievement. There could also be assessments related to specific issues like ADHD or learning disabilities, which may become more apparent as they progress through school.

Children 8-12
As children get older, they become able to engage in more structured tasks, answer questionnaires, and complete timed tests. For this age group, a neuropsychologist might use assessments like the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), which measures cognitive abilities, or the Conners’ Rating Scales for ADHD-related evaluations. Academic achievement tests, like the Woodcock-Johnson Tests or the Weschler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT) may also be introduced to assess reading, writing, and math skills. Finally, tests such as the Beck Youth Inventories or other self-esteem and anxiety scales are used to screen for socioemotional functioning in this age group (8-12 year olds.)”

Adolescents
For teenagers, assessments become more comprehensive with in-depth interviews about their experiences and emotions. The Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) or the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) may be used, covering a broader range of cognitive abilities. In addition, a number of other specific tests for cognitive functioning, or added questionnaires for emotional and behavioral concerns like the Beck Inventories, may also come into play.” Regardless of the age of the older child, here is a typical unfolding of the assessment process to better help you guide your child or teenager in their expectations of what will occur:

The Assessment Process for Children 8-17 years old

Why Neurosolution Clinic?

Entrusting Neurosolution with your child’s assessment ensures you receive a comprehensive understanding of their cognitive, emotional, and behavioral well-being. Our highly trained professionals employ standardized tests, clinical observations, and specialized expertise to pinpoint your child’s strengths and challenges and will provide valuable insights into learning styles, emotional needs, and potential interventions.

At Neurosolution, we are also experts in collaborating with families and educators, and we recommend tailored strategies to support your child’s optimal growth. We are here to help you foster both academic and emotional success for your child, so please don’t hesitate to reach out for any questions you might have on how to begin the process to get you and your family the support you need.

We’ve been trying to find a bilingual neuropsychologist for some time now to help our son, who’s in a French program. NeuroSolution was the bridge we were looking for.

Regions We Serve

Due to our commitment to provide exceptional care to everyone who walks through our doors, we are proud to serve a diverse group of patients from many areas within Montreal and its surrounding cities:

Montreal: Ahuntsic, Côte-des-Neiges, Mont-Royal, Outremont, Little Italy, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Rosemont, Ville-Marie, Westmount

Laval: Auteuil, Duvernay, Fabreville, Laval-des-rapides, Pont-Viau, Vimont

South Shore of Montreal: Brossard, Longueuil, Saint-Lambert

West-Island: Dorval, Pointe-Claire, Vaudreuil-Dorion

Regions We Serve