While modern medicine uses advanced scans to detect traumatic brain injury (TBI), survivors sometimes get referred for additional testing called a neuropsychological evaluation or neuropsychological testing. To help familiarize you with it, we are throwing in the kitchen sink on the basics of these extensive and important tests.
What Is the Purpose of Neuropsychological Testing?
Neuropsychological testing can help determine the cause, extent of, and proposed treatment and accommodations for certain brain injuries. Your doctor may refer you for symptoms like difficulty:
- Thinking (cognitive ability)
- Focusing or keeping concentration
- Finding words
- Controlling emotions, especially anger, sadness, depression, and anxiety
- Remembering things (or losing memory)
- Doing school or academic work
In assessing the survivor’s cognitive and emotional state, neuropsychological testing helps providers develop a treatment plan and define the survivor’s functional limits caused by brain injury. That includes things like whether the survivor can live independently, return to work or school, drive, and handle financial, legal, and medical decisions.
Who Gives a Neuropsychological Test?
Generally, they’re given by a neuropsychologist or trained clinical psychologist. Some testers hold PhDs in psychology.
What Should I Expect the Neuropsychological Test to Be Like?
It’s gonna be a long day. It usually takes 2-6 hours.
Expect an involved interview with the tester about how you got hurt and the impact on your life. You’ll also likely be asked things like:
- Other medical problems, including past ones
- Alcohol and/or drug use, past or present
- Your criminal record
- Military service
- School—how far you went and how well you did
- Work history
- Family history—the tester may want to know what growing up was like for you, what your family is like, and your relationship with your spouse and children
- Any problems you have with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, eating, and other acts
The tester usually interviews a close relative or spouse, who can supply additional information and another perspective on the impact of your injuries on you. This is called a "collateral interview.”
The tester usually reviews your medical records related to the TBI and may ask you about your treatment for it.
And then there are the tests.
What Kinds of Tests Are in Neuropsychological Testing?
First, a major point. These tests have built-in “lie detectors” to determine if you’re giving an honest effort. They are known only to the tester—you likely won’t see them coming. So do your best and be honest.
These are the tests we commonly see on neuropsychological evaluations. And don’t worry—it’s usually not all of these, but a combination of some them:
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, 4th Edition (WAIS-IV) measures overall intelligence.
- Wide-Range Achievement Test, 5th Edition (WRAT-V) measures skills for learning, communication, and thinking. It also diagnoses learning disabilities.
- Continuous Performance Test – II (CPT-II) accesses problems with attention and memory.
- Comprehensive Trail – Making Test (CTMT) is a visual search and sequencing test that assesses attention, concentration, resistance to distraction, and the ability to think flexibly.
- Beck Depression Inventory measures symptoms and severity of depression.
- Beck Anxiety Inventory measures symptoms and severity of anxiety.
- The b Test is a “lie detector” to determine whether you’re applying your best effort.
- Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-II) thoroughly assesses mental and emotional well-being and some personality traits like anger.
- Ray Complex Figure Test (RCFT) tests visual memory.
- Brief Test of Attention (BTA) measures your ability to remember what you hear and multitask.
- Conner’s Continuous Performance Test, 3rd Edition (CCPT-III) assesses your ability to maintain focus and avoid impulsivity.
- Grooved Pegboard Test measures fine motor [muscle] coordination and dexterity by testing your ability to insert pegs into a pegboard.
- Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) tests for mild cognitive impairment.
- Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) measures skills like attention, language, memory, and using your eyes within space to build things.
- Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM) is a “lie detector” to help tell the difference between real and faked memory problems.
- Test of Premorbid Functioning (TOPF) estimates intelligence before your injury, to assess cognitive decline as a result of the injury.
- Boston Naming Test (BNT) measures your ability to “find words” by giving the name of the object shown by a picture.
How Will I Find Out the Results of the Neuropsychological Testing?
The tester compiles the information and analyzes test scores, then issues a detailed report.
The report contains conclusions on the cause and effects of the TBI. It may propose diagnoses like anxiety and depression. It will also give functional limits from the injury, and recommend treatment and maybe accommodations for those limits.
Yes, It’s Complicated. But You’re Not Alone.
Recovering from a brain injury is a struggle. Living with one can be the challenge of a lifetime. Attempting to navigate treacherous legal waters alone only creates more threat of harm. You’re an amateur in a sea of professional sharks—an insurance company whose goal is to escape quick and cheap, leaving you holding the bag.
Even if the insurance adjuster seems nice, they often withhold vital information, like how much insurance they have to cover huge medical bills and lost income. And you may be permanently disabled, requiring medical care for life. Rest assured, the insurance company won’t protect your rights, because it costs them money and profits.
Another important thing: There may be other parties at fault that could add to your compensation that you don’t even know about because you have no legal training.
Don’t risk losing compensation that you need for yourself and your family. Call a captain to guide your ship. We are here to answer your questions about your case. For help, call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form.
Learn what past clients have to say about our services by checking out our Avvo.com reviews.