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Neuropsychological Assessment

Neuropsychological Assessment

Your key to successful rehabilitation

After a brain injury or illness, you can feel overwhelmed and not even know where to begin. A neuropsychological assessment is recommended in cases where brain-based impairment in cognitive function or behavior is suspected. Through a neuropsychological assessment, we can assess the extent of injury and then use that information to build an effective treatment plan, and track your progress. More importantly, it will help maximise your chances for a successful, and sustainable recovery.

This section of our web site covers the following topics:

  • What is a Neuropsychological Assessment?
  • Who is qualified to conduct a neuropsychological assessment?
  • What is involved in the assessment appointment?
  • Neuropsychological Rehabilitation: Adaption and Compensation
  • Child neuropsychology services provided by VCPS
  • Government initiatives and Medicare rebates for child neuropsychology services
  • Neuropsychological assessment, intervention and consultation
  • Adult neuropsychology services provided by VCPS
  • Medico Legal Assessment

What is a Neuropsychological Assessment?

A neuropsychological assessment involves a comprehensive test of cognitive and behavioral functions using a set of standardised tests and procedures, plus a clinical interview.

The testing process systematically assess various mental functions including:

  • Intelligence
  • Problem solving and conceptualisation
  • Planning and organisation
  • Attention, memory, and learning
  • Language
  • Academic skills
  • Perceptual and motor abilities
  • Emotions, behavior, and personality

Who is qualified to conduct a neuropsychological assessment?

A neuropsychological assessment can only be administered by a psychologist who has had specialised training and experience in the field, which includes formal postdoctoral training focusing on brain-behavior relationships and neuropsychological assessment.

For information on our clinician’s backgrounds and areas of expertise, and to view their profiles and photos, click here.

Not all neuropsychological assessments are the same; some are brief and others are comprehensive, and within each of these groups a different series of assessment tasks are selected depending on the presenting issues and the purpose of the assessment.

A neuropsychological assessment is recommended in cases where brain-based impairment in cognitive function or behavior is suspected. Referrals are usually made to our neuropsychologists to diagnose (or rule out) the following conditions, and/or for the following reasons:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Strokes
  • Developmental learning disabilities
  • Attention deficit disorders
  • Psychiatric or neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Seizure disorders
  • Effects of toxic chemicals or chronic substance abuse
  • Dementing conditions (e.g., Alzheimer's Disease)
  • Diagnostic clarification (i.e. to help determine the presence and type of neurological/ psychiatric disorder)
  • Detailing a profile of cognitive strengths and weaknesses to help guide individualised treatment recommendations and return-to-work/education/driving decisions
  • Monitoring progress and measuring change to assess deterioration in neurodegenerative disorders or improvement following intervention
  • Treatment planning and rehabilitation, including cognitive rehabilitation
  • Neuroeducation and counselling for patients and families (e.g. education about brain function and the potential impact of a cognitive disability on day-to-day functioning).
  • Assessment of decision-making capacity (e.g. in relation to financial matters, enduring Power of Attorney, guardianship, medical treatment, and wills).
  • Medicolegal assessment - to assist with criminal, civil, and insurance matters.

A neuropsychological assessment is particularly useful for tracking progress in rehabilitation after brain injury or other neurological disease and can assist greatly in planning specific and tailored educational and vocational programs. It can also be invaluable for disability determination or for forensic (legal) purposes.

What happens in the assessment appointment?

Generally, a neuropsychological assessment involves a wide variety of tasks, most of which are completed sitting at a table (or at bedside if you are in hospital). There are no invasive procedures, no pain, no needles or electrodes. A comprehensive evaluation can take between 3 and 6 hours of face-to-face contact, but this can vary depending on the presenting issues and the purpose of the assessment. The assessment can be conducted over one appointment with several breaks, or if required, over a series of appointments.

Following the assessment, the neuropsychologist spends several hours interpreting the results and writing a report to communicate the assessment findings and outlining recommendations for future care.

The neuropsychology report explains the following:

  • Why the assessment was conducted
  • Background mental health and medical history
  • Testing results and observations
  • Diagnosis
  • Specific feedback to the referring parties (e.g., General Practitioner, Neurologists, school, aged care facility, etc.)
  • Recommendations for future care. This may include referral to other specialists such as educational therapists, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, special education teachers, or vocational counsellors.

A verbal feedback session will also be scheduled between the neuropsychologist and the person tested, and supporting family members if appropriate. This appointment will be used to discuss the findings of the assessment and what future care will involve.

Neuropsychological Rehabilitation: Adaption and Compensation

A brain injury can lead to changes in a person’s thinking skills, emotions, behaviour and social relationships, which can range from mild to severe in nature. Neuropsychological rehabilitation is a holistic approach and aims to reduce the impact of a brain injury or brain impairment on an individual’s life through an accurate assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, and applying this information to:

  • Develop appropriate ways to enable the individual to adapt and compensate for changes in thinking, behaviour, emotions and social functioning
  • Maximize the individual’s autonomy and participation in daily activities, which may include educational and vocational pursuits and social relationships

Child neuropsychology services provided by VCPS

A neuropsychological assessment often assists in maximising learning and development of students with learning and/or behavioural difficulties by providing:

  • A better understanding their thinking cognitive strengths and weaknesses
  • Strategies for collaborative support and a learning plan that considers the student’s needs in the context of the specific resources available at school and home.

Neuropsychological services offered at VCPS include assessment and intervention for students aged 6 to 18. Parents or guardians, teachers, GPs and other health professionals can make referrals. Common questions asked by families and schools include:

  • Why does the student have difficulty learning?
  • Why does the student behave this way and how can we better manage their behaviour?
  • Is the student eligible for funding support in the classroom?
  • What are the student’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses, and what strategies might improve their learning or behaviour?
  • What is the impact of this student’s head injury or other medical condition on their cognitive function?

Assessments are individually tailored to the student’s needs and include an initial face to face interview, phone calls to teachers or others, pencil and paper tests to assess the child’s thinking and learning abilities, test scoring and interpretation, and provision of feedback including a written report.

Government initiatives and rebates for child neuropsychology services

Rebates include Medicare funding: (1) Helping Children with Autism package, and (2) Better Start for Children with Disabilities program.

Children who are already receiving support under the Helping Children with Autism program may be eligible to receive psychological assessment and treatment services as part of their package. Please see the linked web site, published by the Department of Health and Ageing for further information on accessing services through this program.

Adult neuropsychology services provided by VCPS

Neuropsychological services are available to adults and older adults. Individuals in these age groups usually see a neuropsychologist because they have difficulties with memory or other thinking skills.

Some clients have disorders such as:

  • Brain injury
  • Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis or other neurological disorders
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Language disorders
  • Learning disorders or difficulties
  • Sleep disorders
  • Neurodegenerative disorders including dementias
  • Psychological trauma or other mental health issues impacting on thinking skills
  • Stroke

Assessment findings are used to assist with diagnosis of medical or psychological disorders and to inform a range of neuropsychological interventions including the following:

  • Education about the impact of changes in brain function on everyday life
  • Planning for rehabilitation, behavioural or vocational needs
  • Development of strategies to support thinking skills and work around difficulties
  • Relaxation training
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Neuropsychological consultation services are also available to families, health professionals and school staff seeking guidance assisting or managing another person who has a neuropsychological condition. This may be appropriate for a client who has had assessments through other services or for whom assessment is not appropriate for some reason.

Individual clients, family members and health professionals can make referrals. Common referral questions include:

  • Is the person's neuropsychological function consistent with a particular medical or psychological diagnosis?
  • Why does the person have memory or other cognitive difficulties?
  • What does the person's brain injury or other medical condition mean for their cognitive function and everyday needs?
  • What is the impact of their psychological disorder on their thinking skills and what may help?
  • How can the person's behaviour be better managed at home, in respite, or in another environment?
  • Is the person eligible for disability support services on the basis of intellectual disability?
  • What are the person's strengths and weaknesses and what may help?
  • Does the person have the decision making capacity to make a decision about a particular issue?

Medicolegal Services

We are available to discuss referrals related to the following presenting issues:

  • Personal injury matters (e.g. nature/severity of an emotional difficulty resulting from an accident or injury).
  • Work-related injury matters (e.g. personal injury or brain injury).
  • Employment-related matters (e.g. capacity to work, barriers to progress, treatment needs).
  • Decision-making capacity (e.g. in relation to managing financial affairs, appointing an enduring Power of Attorney, guardianship, medical treatment, or changing a will).

For further information on our services, please call us on (03) 9419 7172, or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Maximise your chances for a successful rehabilitation with a neuropsychological assessment. For further information on our services, please call us on (03) 9419 7172 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it