Lucia J. Stubbs, PhD, Licensed Psychologist, Practice Owner
UPDATE: Deeper Insights is conducting primarily Telehealth and Teleneuropsychological services. Based on guidance from the CDC, WHO, and Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Deeper Insights will use Telehealth or postpone appointments during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
What is a neuropsychological assessment?
A neuropsychological assessment is a means of determining an individual’s brain functions or works. This type of assessment involves a detailed examination of an individual through administration of a variety of psychological tasks, behavioral observations, subjective information provided by those who know the examinee well, and review of records. This information is then used to ascertain general cognitive ability, communicative and language skills, visuospatial processing, executive functions, learning and memory abilities, attentional capacities, mental control, self-regulation, social cognition, and emotional adjustment. The evaluation is tailored (e.g., specific tasks and rating scales are chosen) depending on the referral question, the individual’s age, and the availability of previous evaluations.
Academic achievement or educational testing is not included in the assessment, as it is not covered by insurance. Such testing is to be conducted by schools/educational institutions.
Why should I/my child be assessed?
Assessment is often necessary to obtain a better understanding of diagnoses and recommended treatments. Without a conclusive diagnosis, treatment providers might feel as though they are guessing about what could be effective. It can save time and money to get a more definitive diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations.
Why do you need all of this information prior to scheduling an appointment?
In order to be thorough a comprehensive assessment must be conducted. This includes not only assessing current levels of functioning and health but examining prior abilities, health, and behaviors. Understanding brain functioning requires consideration of development including various patterns and changes in functioning. Additionally, several of the tests administered have “practice effects” and are not advised to be repeated within a certain timeframe. Furthermore, insurance companies often will not cover more than one evaluation in a 12-month period.
What is involved in an assessment?
An assessment involves several components, which is by design in order to be comprehensive. The assessment typically includes an intake/initial appointment, test administration, and a feedback session. The feedback session is an integral and very important component to the assessment. Every effort is made to schedule the feedback session at a convenient time for the examinee and/or parent(s)/guardian(s).
How much time does an assessment take?
The intake/initial session takes about typically takes about an hour to an hour and a half. The testing administration session takes anywhere from 5 to 6 hours. Lastly, the feedback session can take about an hour and a half, however, might be shorter or longer depending issues that need to be discussed.
The assessment can be divided into three or two appointment sessions. Depending on circumstances, it might be advised to conduct the intake/initial appointment on the same day, prior to testing.
What happens in the testing sessions?
On the testing day (or, in some cases, at the intake/initial session) an interview is held with both the examinee and if appropriate with the parent(s)/guardian(s). This is to review the reason of the assessment and to obtain details of the developmental, medical, and educational history. Then, the evaluation proceeds with the child working with the psychologist on various tasks. If the examinee is a minor, the parent will usually wait for the child in the waiting area. Parents are often asked to complete questionnaires while they wait. There is a break for lunch and then the child again works with the psychologist completing the remainder of the activities.
Who should be present at the sessions/appointments?
During the intake or interview appointment parent(s)/guardian(s) are required to be present. Consent forms and releases of information will need to be signed and the person attending the intake session needs to have the legal authority to grant consent. Step-parents, foster-parents, or other relatives who do not have any legal custody or guardianship cannot give permission for testing or sign legal documents. Children may or may not be present for this appointment and this should be discussed when scheduling. Individual’s being evaluated who are 18 years or older who are legally able to provide consent must attend all appointments.
On the testing day, a minor/child examinee needs to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian
For the feedback session a minor/child examinee does not need to be in attendance. Parent(s)/legal guardian(s) should attend the appointment. If engaged with a service facilitator, they should also be present for the feedback session.
Siblings (unless adult supports) of your child should not attend the feedback session. Again, please leave siblings at home, in daycare, or at school.
If I am a parent, do I have to stay for the entire appointment?
Yes! It is important for you to be present to complete behavioral questionnaires and be quickly reachable if your child needs you. Even if your child is an older adolescent but still a minor (under 18 years old) you must remain present with them for the duration of the assessment session. So, please be prepared by bringing something to do while your child is being assessed.
If I am a parent, what should I do with my child during testing breaks?
This depends on the age of your child and individual characteristics. It is highly recommended that you bring nutritional snacks and a beverage (not soda) for our child to consume during breaks. Your child will likely need physical activity during the break, so please be prepared to walk and/or go outside. Please do not bring handheld video games to the appointment.
When and how will I find out the results?
You will meet with the psychologist in a feedback session in which the findings of the evaluation will be discussed with you in detail. This will be followed by a written report that includes relevant background history, behavioral observations, test findings, diagnoses, and treatment recommendations.
How long do I have to wait for the results/report?
Most reports will be completed within 4 – 6 weeks. Report production may be delayed, though, in cases where we are awaiting receipt of critical information such as teacher report forms. Please communicate if the report is needed by a specific date (for medical appointments, school meetings, etc.) and although we can make no guarantees, we will try to have the completed report to you by that priority date.
Who will get a copy of the report?
One copy of the report will be provided to you, to the referring provider/source, and one will be placed in your chart. With written permission, typically via a release of information, a copy of the report can be release to primary physicians, schools, and other providers. If you especially want the report to go to a specific provider, one copy can likely be provided at the feedback session for you to pass along.
How much does an evaluation/treatment cost and do you accept insurance?
The total cost for an evaluation varies depending on factors such as the examinee’s age, presenting concerns/questions, etc. Please call 608-260-5138 for a free consultation and information about fees.
Dr. Stubbs is an in-network provider for the following programs Comprehensive Community Services of Dane County (CCS), Children Come First (CCF), and Dean Health Plan. Out-of-network services are provided on a self-pay basis and to accommodate individual needs various fee options are available. For self-pay, an individual/family seeking services is responsible for obtaining reimbursement from their insurance. To assist with this billing codes and other relevant information is provided.