What should I tell my child to prepare him/her for neuropsychological assessment?

Children sometimes think that visits to a doctor will involve shots. It is important to reassure your child that no shots or painful procedures will be involved in the visit to the neuropsychologist. For school aged children, it is appropriate to describe testing as like school. You can tell your child that he/she will be doing many different activities. Some activities involve listening and talking while other activities involving looking at things, building things and drawing. Parents are not typically allowed to be present during testing unless the child is very young or has difficulties with separation. Let your child know that you will be close by while he/she works with the neuropsychologist. Reassure your child that she/he can have breaks to use the bathroom and to eat lunch and that she/he may even earn special rewards if they put forth their best effort!

For young children, you can describe neuropsychological assessment as playing games involving listening, talking and remembering. Let the child know that the neuropsychologist will have toys like blocks and puzzles that he/she will get to use. Your preschool child may wish to bring a security object along to the appointment. Try to choose an object that will not be too distracting for the child (e.g. a security blanket or small stuffed animal as opposed to an action figure or toy with many small parts).

You can help your child get ready for assessment by making sure that he/she gets a good night sleep prior to testing. Make sure that you child has eaten so that he/she will not be hungry during testing. Make the assessment day a special day for your child by leaving brothers and/or sisters at home.