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How to Prepare Your Child for a Neuropsychological Evaluation

People bring their children to our office for many different reasons.  Every child is unique, and so are the reasons we work with families.  However, there are some ways that parents can help prepare the child for a psychological or neuropsychological assessment.  

First, emotionally prepare your child.  

  • Talk to your child about their evaluation ahead of time. Children do better and are less anxious when they know what to expect. 
  • You may wish to disclose some of your or their teacher’s concerns to them.  For example, you could say something like, “We’ve noticed that even though you work hard, you don’t like to read, or “We’ve noticed that you seem to worry a lot about school and that you don’t always like to go.”
  • Let them know that you see their strengths, such as being a good person, a loving child, or a hard worker. Assure them they are not being evaluated for anything they did wrong.  They are not in trouble. 
  • Explain that Dr. Anderson wants to help them find what they are good at and what is hard for them.  Confirm that every person alive has things they find easy and things that cause them to struggle.  Provide examples of some of the things that challenge(d) you in school, at home, or at work, as well as some of your strengths.
  • Tell your child that evaluations help the adults around them understand them better, so parents and teachers can help more.  You can also share that parents have to complete lots of information, homework, and testing during the evaluation too!   
  • A psychological evaluation is nothing to study or practice for. 
  • Word choice can impact your child’s anxiety.  Try not to use the word “test” when talking to your child about the evaluation, as this word is scary to many kids. Similarly, the word “game” can minimize the importance of the evaluation, and can disappoint your child.  Some people prefer the word “activities” as it most accurately describes what your child will be doing. 
  • If your child has questions about the evaluation that you cannot answer, help them write them down so they can ask Dr. Anderson when they come to the appointment. 
  • Another critical piece to remember is that children pick up on emotional cues from the adults around them… if you remain calm, they will be more at ease with this process. So, relax and encourage your child to be honest and do their best!
  • Finally, you can remind them that everything in their testing sessions is private, and that Dr. Anderson cannot share information about their identity or test findings without parent permission in writing.

“Children do better when they know what to expect and feel like they have control.”

Cindy Anderson, Ph.D., ABPP

Secondly, prepare your child for the physical parts of testing.

  • Take care that your child is rested and sleeps well the night before.
  • Do not have them test when they are sick or have a fever.
  • Most children are tested during school hours because they typically function best at those times. Evenings are never good time frames for testing.
  • Please have your child take their normal medications unless directed to do something different by the psychologist.
  • Provide a quick snack before testing and give them a water bottle to use during testing.
  • Ensure they have a pencil, pen, and several sheets of white paper on their testing days.
  • Since we’ll be meeting online, find a quiet and private place in your home for your child to meet with the psychologist.  Ideally, this would be a room with a closed door so that pets and other family members do not distract them.
  • Leave time for yourselves to find the login information and make sure that your computer is running appropriately.  Please test your cameras and speakers prior to session.
  • Some tests can only be done on a computer and not an iPad, so make sure to check with your psychologist if you want to use an I-pad.  Some children do better with headphones, and others do better without them.  Often, the Chromebooks provided by school districts do not have sufficient cameras or speakers, and they can unnecessarily disrupt or complicate testing.
  • Do not sit with your child during testing unless asked to by your psychologist.  Never try to help them or give them answers.  Keep things as calm as you can afterwards.
  • Ensure your child wears their glasses or uses their hearing aids if they have them.
  • Make sure that you have completed your paperwork and questionnaires for the psychologist prior to your child’s appointment.  This information is often necessary to plan your child’s testing battery.  
  • Remove distractions from the place where your child is testing, if possible.  For example, gaming instruments, iPhones, etc., can be very distracting, and should be removed.

Ultimately, your psychologist, your child, and you will have the best experience and find the evaluation the most helpful if everyone is prepared and working together.  


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