Frequently Asked Questions
How is a neuropsychological evaluation different from a school assessment?
School assessments are usually performed to determine whether a child qualifies for special education programs or gifted programming. School-based evaluations cannot medically diagnose learning or behavior disorders caused by altered brain function or development, such as dyslexia, ADHD, or autism.
What will the test results tell me?
By comparing your child’s test scores to scores of children of similar ages, the neuropsychologist can create a profile of your child’s strengths and weaknesses. The results help those involved in your child’s care in a number of ways:
Testing can explain why your child is having problems in school. For example, a child may have difficulty reading because of an attention problem, a language disorder, an auditory processing problem, or a reading disability.
Testing can help detect the effects of developmental, neurological, and medical problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, or a genetic disorder.
Testing can help differentiate between possible diagnoses that then provides the right direction for intervention.
Most importantly, testing provides a better understanding of the child’s behavior and learning in school, at home, and in the community. The evaluation can guide teachers, therapists, and you to better help your child achieve his or her full potential.
What do I need to do before the evaluation day?
Before your child’s appointment, you will be asked to complete a Child History Form and have your child’s teacher(s) complete a Teacher Questionnaire to gather information about your child in the school setting. Approximately a week prior to your child's testing day, we will have a Telehealth meeting (phone or Zoom) to discuss the questions you hope testing will answer.
What should I tell my child about his or her evaluation before we come in?
Many children who are coming in for an evaluation will be curious about what it is and what they will be doing. You can tell your child that I work with children of all different ages, that we will be doing some fun activities, games, and tests together, and that my job is to work with children to help me and their parents and teachers understand the way they learn best in school to make learning as easy as possible for them.
Many of the things we do together will be like things he or she does in school. I have a waiting room and office with magazines and books, and your child will sit at a table (just like school) for most of the evaluation.
Because everything I do is meant for individuals of all ages, from preschool through college, some things your child will do will seem very easy and some things will seem hard. Ask your child to try to do his/her best during the evaluation but explain that no one expects him/her to know all the answers.
Most children are understandably a little nervous when they arrive, but many feel relaxed and interested in what we are doing soon after testing begins.
Should my child take his or her medication on the day of the evaluation?
Yes. If your child takes any prescribed medication, please have them take their medication as they would on a school day.
What is the schedule like on the day of the evaluation?
The testing day itself will usually last between 2-4 hours total. Dr. Neessen will work with your child for approximately 90 minutes, then a 45-minute lunch break, followed by additional testing, as needed. After testing has been completed, we will schedule a Telehealth appointment to go over your child's test results and recommendations.
What Happens After The Evaluation?
In addition to Telehealth feedback of the results, follow-up includes:
A comprehensive written report, within 2-3 weeks
Specific and practical recommendations to improve functioning in all settings
Feedback to a client’s therapists and physicians as needed
Referrals to appropriate community resources (social skills groups, tutors, etc.) as needed
My name is Dr. Michael Neessen, I have been specializing in neuropsychological assessment for 20 years in child, adolescent, and young adult neuropsychological assessment in areas such as: executive functioning, memory, language processing, developmental disorders, and medical and genetic conditions.
I am a former Harvard Faculty member and a UNM graduate.
- Albuquerque, NM (2013 - present)
- Boston, MA (2006 - 2012)
Hospital Staff Appointments
- Boston Children's Hospital, Developmental Medicine Center, Boston, MA
- Instructor, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
- Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) - California School of Professional Psychology - San Francisco Bay Campus (2000)
- Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Communication - The University of New Mexico (1993)