Neurodevelopmental Evaluations for Children and Adolescents

About Neurodevelopmental Evaluations

Many parents have concerns about whether their children are meeting developmental milestones on time, particularly as it relates to social-emotional development, language and communication, and behavior.  While it can be more noticeable when older children are experiencing challenges in their development (poor academic achievement, concerns brought up by the school, interpersonal problems with peers), parents of younger children often wonder what behaviors are developmentally appropriate and what might be cause for concern.  Specific behaviors that may warrant a screening or evaluation include:

  • Tantrums that are more frequent, more severe, or longer in duration than is expected for age

  • Not making eye contact

  • Not using gestures

  • Not responding to their name

  • Unexpected changes in development, (no longer gaining new skills, losing skills at around 18 to 24 months)

  • Trouble interacting or communicating with others

  • Trouble speaking, not speaking at all

  • Difficulty expressing feelings

  • Inability to understand how another person feels

  • Disinterest in physical contact with other people

  • Being withdrawn or preferring to do things by themselves

  • Difficulty making friends

  • Saying a word or phrase repeatedly (“echolalia”)

  • Repetitive motions, such as rocking, flapping hands, or spinning in circles

  • Unusual rituals or ways of playing with toys

  • Preference for routines, and anxiety when a routine is broken

  • Particular areas of interest that consumes a lot of attention

  • Unusual sensory behaviors such as:

    • Being preoccupied with lights or moving objects

    • Peering at things out of the corner of his eye

    • Dislike of certain kinds of sensory stimulation, such as loud noises

    • Craving other sensory inputs, such as deep pressure on skin

Child Psychologist - Newbury, MA

Neurodevelopmental Evaluations - Recommended by AAP

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends early screening and diagnostic assessments for children with potential developmental delays.  Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention for developmental delays or disorders is essential for optimal treatment outcomes, and may reduce the risk that delays will be permanent.  This is particularly true for children who may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  ASD is a complex disorder of very early brain development that can affect children in very different ways, ranging from mild to severe.  While ASD was previously recognized as several separate disorders, including Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger’s Disorder, because of shared symptomology these disorders were merged under a single ASD diagnosis with the May 2013 publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5).  Two main categories of symptoms include:

  • Difficulty with social communication and social interactions, including: including: verbal and nonverbal communication, trouble developing and maintaining relationships, and deficits in initiating and responding to social cues

  • Repetitive behavior (also called "stereotyped" behaviors or stereotypies), and restricted or unusual interests, including unusual sensory behaviors

Neurodevelopmental Evaluations - North Shore Children's Neuropsychology

A Comprehensive Neurodevelopmental Evaluation is completed by a licensed, doctoral-level clinical psychologist with expertise in the area of pediatric neuropsychology. The evaluation includes:

  • Intake Session with parent(s) to review the contract and background information

  • Collateral calls as needed to other providers for supplemental information (pediatricians, SLP, OT, counselors, teachers, etc.)

  • Behavioral Questionnaires

  • 2-3 hours of in-person assessments

  • Observations (if needed) at schools or daycares

  • Feedback session to explain the findings

  • Comprehensive, written report with recommendations

 

If it is determined that your child meets criteria for a developmental disorder, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, or if they are experiencing developmental delays that require intervention, the Comprehensive Neurodevelopmental Evaluation Report will provide specific recommendations for additional services, which can include family or individual counseling, in-home services, speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, applied behavior analysis (ABA), Early Intervention services if your child is under the age of 3, and potential qualification for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) through the public school system if your child is over the age of 3. 

 

For additional information or to schedule an evaluation, please contact NSCN at admin@nschildneuropsych.com

NEXT STEPS FOR PARENTS ​

If your child is between the ages of 2-5 and you have concerns about your child’s development, your pediatrician might recommend a Neurodevelopmental Evaluation to help you understand your child’s unique pattern of strengths and weaknesses, and to assess for developmental delays. A Neurodevelopmental Evaluation is a comprehensive set of assessments designed to assess all aspects of your child’s development, including cognition, language, sensory-motor, and social skills.