Neuropsychology focuses on brain development and function, and how these affect behavior, learning, social-emotional health, as well as other life skills. A neuropsychological evaluation can help identify strengths and weaknesses regarding your child’s ability to think, learn, and perform daily activities.
Dr. Laura McDonald provides neuropsychological testing that integrates various sources of information to develop a clear and holistic picture of the whole child, gain insight into how he or she is currently functioning, and understand the barriers that affect a young person’s developmental, intellectual, emotional, and/or learning abilities.
We provide neuropsychological assessments for children and young adults throughout the Greater Los Angeles area — including individuals in Sherman Oaks, Calabasas, and Beverly Hills — from our office here in Encino. Please, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation or if you have any questions about our assessments.
DR. MCDONALD TYPICALLY ASSESSES THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
- Speech and Language: Comprehension and Expression
- Fine Motor Functioning
- Visual Spatial and Visual Perceptual Skills
- Attention and Concentration
- Executive Functioning
- Learning and Memory
- Academic Achievement: Reading, Writing and Math
- Social Perception
- Emotional Well-being and Behavioral Functioning
- Adaptive Functioning
- Motivation and Effort
The in-depth nature of such an evaluation allows for a more accurate diagnostic picture, true understanding of strengths and challenges, as well as planning for academic, psychological, and developmental needs. The goal of a neuropsychological evaluation is to offer solutions and research-based strategies so children can function at their true potential and succeed in school and life.
For families who may not be ready to move forward with a comprehensive assessment or seek answers to targeted questions, a collaborative plan may be offered with specific tests selected to answer the most pressing needs. If you believe that your child struggles in more than one area, it is important to consider a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation, as this will provide a full picture of a child’s strengths and weaknesses to identify the correct diagnosis and develop the right plan of care.
Targeted follow-up evaluations are conducted to assess a child’s progress in a specific area — such as academic, attention, or learning and memory — after interventions have been implemented.
Gifted testing includes the administration of an IQ test, individualized summary report and providing feedback to parents. IQ testing may be needed to determine the eligibility for gifted education programs. Dr. McDonald uses the Wechsler system of instruments (WPPSI-IV or WISC-V depending on age), the most widely used assessment tools for measuring a child’s intellectual abilities.
INDEPENDENT EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION (IEE)
An IEE is a comprehensive evaluation approved and paid for by a child’s school district. The evaluation is typically initiated by a parent and/or school district when additional information or a second opinion is needed to plan a student’s education, placement, or services. The school district has the right to evaluate your child before considering the need for an IEE.
Who might benefit from a neuropsychological evaluation?
- You are concerned about your child’s academic performance and you are wondering about the presence of learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia.
- Your child’s school performance does not seem to measure up to their intellectual abilities.
- Your child runs out of time on tests and spends much longer than their peers completing homework.
- You have questions about eligibility for classroom accommodations and standardized testing, such as the ISEE, ACT/SAT, AP, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, or MCAT.
- Your child struggles with attention and you are wondering if your child has AD/HD.
- Your child struggles with time management, organization, or motivation.
- Your child has language difficulties.
- Your child has difficulty with social interaction and communication and you are wondering if they have Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Your child shows emotional difficulties, such as anxiety, panic disorders, or depression, which may affect their learning and everyday functioning.
- You are wondering if your child is gifted or twice-exceptional.
- Your child has a medical history, such as a concussion, brain trauma, seizures, or cancer.
PARENT GUIDANCE AND CONSULTATION:
Dr. McDonald is available to provide assistance to families who may need help in interpreting testing reports from a different provider, and reviewing IEPs and other school documents. She meets with parents to discuss potential plans for managing mental health and behavioral interventions with their children. She is also available to consult with other professionals, teachers, and administrators regarding children with developmental, emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges.
WORKSHOPS & PRESENTATIONS:
Dr. McDonald is available to present to parents, educators, and healthcare professionals on various topics related to child development, learning difficulties, psychiatric disorders, and neuropsychological assessment.