Thanks for joining us Michele, can you tell us what does a Neuropschologist do?
Absolutely, a Neuropsychologist develops a breadth of information to support families whose children may be experiencing cognitive, learning, developmental, emotional or behavioural difficulties. Usually, children up to 16 years old are referred to see a Neuropsychologist for an assessment to provide a deep understanding of the child’s memory, conigition or thinking skills, ability to learn, academic skills and development.
This comprehensive assessment will then inform individualised recommendations and strategies to support the child in daily life. Due to the complex nature of the brain and how it can affect behaviour and emotions, a Neuropsychologist can also play an important part in exploring what may be contributing to behavioural or emotional difficulties.
You mentioned assessment, what elements for the child are being assessed?
Great question, a neuropsychological assessment can explore a range of development, emotional and behavioural elements of the child. This may include:
- Overall intellectual functioning (IQ)
- Attention and concentration
- Verbal skills; such as the ability to understand instructions, express themselves verbally, and reason or problem-solve with verbal information
- Visual skills; such as the ability to reason or problem-solve with visual information and form concepts/categories with visual information
- Memory and learning
- Academic skills; such as reading, comprehension, written expression, spelling and maths
- Higher-level thinking skills; such as planning/organising, generating ideas, impulse control, inhibiting unwanted behaviours and switching flexibly from one idea to another
What does the Neuropsychological Assessment process involve?
A Neuropsychological Assessment is a very thorough process that takes approximately 14 hours and involves 5 hours of face-to-face interviews with children and their families. A typical assessment will also involve the child being asked to complete tasks and activities where observations and scoring is conducted, to which a formal report is produced and feedback provided to parents.
The assessment process takes place in a relaxed and comfortable manner, with weekly child or parent sessions over a five week period.
Neuropsychologists are trained to work with children and families to ensure they are at ease throughout the process to make the experience positive and enjoyable. The assessment time can vary depending on the child’s concentration span, their age, what assessments are used and whether the child is easily tired and needs regular breaks.
What will the results provide?
As the Neuropsychologist considers the child’s age, history, strengths, difficulties and reason for referral, the results will provide highly individualised recommendations to support the child in everyday life. Recommendations include strategies that teachers, parents and carers can use in daily life, as well as providing valuable information and strategies for other health professionals that the child may be seeing.
A referral to other health professionals may also be recommended, possibly to see a Paediatrician, Clinical Psychologist, Occupational Therapist or Speech Pathologist. Results and recommendations are reviewed and discussed with the family in a feedback session.
Do families need a referral to see a Neuropsychologist?
No, families don’t need a referral to see a Neuropsychologist or for a Neuropsychological assessment.
Meet Michele Hervatin
Michele Hervatin is a Clinical Neuropsychologist with over 7 years of experience in providing comprehensive neuropsychological services to children, adults and older adults.
Michele is highly experienced in providing neuropsychological assessments to children and adolescents with a diverse range of complex presentations. She has worked with clients with neurodevelopmental disorders, including Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Severe Language Disorder and Specific Learning Disorder. She has also provided neuropsychological assessments to children with neurological and medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke and epilepsy.
Michele has worked across a variety of services including community health, paediatric rehabilitation and therapeutic service delivery for children who have experienced trauma and neglect. She is passionate about working collaboratively with children and families to increase their understanding of a child’s specific strengths and weaknesses and to create individualised recommendations to optimise a child’s cognitive, social and emotional functioning.
With a Bachelor of Arts (Honours in Psychology) and Masters of Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Melbourne, Michele is registered as a Clinical Neuropsychologist with Supervisor Status with AHPRA Psychology Board of Australia.
If you would like more information or to make an appointment please contact us on 9430 9100 to make an appointment.