Neuropsychological Testing:

When attention, learning and emotional challenges impede academic progress and social development, neuropsychological testing is an essential tool in identifying the nature of the problem and determining how to help the child.

Family Compass’ comprehensive neuropsychological assessments provide a fuller understanding of the child’s unique attention capacities, learning style, emotional functioning, and behavioral repertoire. The findings from this evaluation serve as a roadmap that clarifies the interventions needed to help the child overcome his or her specific challenges.
The evaluation’s findings are summarized in a clearly written report that creates a holistic description of the child’s strengths and challenges, with tailored recommendations.

To read more about neuropsychological assessment, see the American Psychological Association Parent Guide to Pediatric Neuropsychology.

Interventions for Learning and Attention Challenges:

Following the completion of neuropsychological testing, Family Compass staff is also available to provide ongoing support to the child and family. Treatment services may include therapy, psychoeducation and/or parental guidance.

We also provide neurofeedback as an alternative or supplement to medication for ADHD, as well as other challenges, including for children who have trouble managing their emotions.

Recognizing the importance of coordinating with schools, we offer follow-up consultations with school staff and other professionals involved in the child’s care.

What You Can Expect

The evaluation starts with an initial session with the parents, in which they provide a detailed developmental history. Often, we recommend a school observation so that the child can be seen in a natural social context. Subsequently, we meet with the child and get to know him or her.

We then administer a diverse battery of neuropsychological and educational assessments, typically in two three-hour sessions. With the parents’ permission, we seek input from teachers and other professionals who know the child.

Finally, we develop a report with findings and specific recommendations, and subsequently meet with the parents twice: once to describe the findings and the second time to agree upon a specific plan for the child and family.

Within a few months of the testing, and at the request of the family, we often schedule follow-up meetings to ascertain that the intervention plan is on track and make adjustments as needed to ensure that the child continues to make progress.

How Testing Helps Us Understand the Child and His or Her Needs

The neuropsychological testing battery includes “gold standard” measures, including the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fifth Edition (WISC-V); A Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment – Second Edition (NEPSY-II), as well as a series of other neuropsychological tests to assess specific cognitive functions such as executive function, memory, language, social perception, and visuospatial abilities; and the Woodcock Johnson Test of Achievement – Fourth Edition (WJ-IV), a standardized measure of academic achievement. Additional measures are utilized based on the child’s unique needs.

The various testing tasks require a broad range of different abilities across various functional domains (such as attention, language, etc.), enabling us to understand many facets of the child’s functioning. The child’s performance on each test as well as their overall performance in each domain is compared to expectations for same-age peers; however, the most important information is derived from comparing the child’s own performance across the various tests and domains. This self-comparison allows us to identify the child’s strengths and weaknesses, which forms the basis for targeted recommendations.

Working with Schools

Most families seek out neuropsychological or psychological assessment for their child when he/she is struggling in school. Thus, it is very important that the school be involved in the assessment process and also benefit from the expanded understanding of the child that is gained through the evaluation.

When requested, the testing psychologist visits the child’s school for observation purposes before meeting the child in the office. This observation session enables the clinician to better understand how a child’s strengths and weaknesses impact him in the classroom setting. The teacher also completes a standardized questionnaire to provide observations of the child’s behavior.

The clinician’s involvement with the school may continue beyond the evaluation, if requested by the family, for example to attend IEP meetings and speak with teachers about classroom-based interventions.

Attention & Learning Challenges Professional Team

Moshe Shtuhl, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist
(Clinical Director & Consulting Therapist)
Dr. Moshe Shtuhl is the founder and director of Family Compass since 1996. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Clinical Psychology at George Washington University. Dr. Shtuhl worked as an army psychologist in his native Israel before arriving in the U.S. to pursue doctoral studies in 1987....

James Orth, Ph.D. ABPP

Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologist
Dr. Orth obtained his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Miami University in 1986.  His post-doctoral training experiences included a two-year infancy and early childhood mental health program chaired by Dr. Shtuhl with the Washington School of Psychiatry. Dr. Orth has published professional...