So you were referred for a neuropsychological evaluation and went to Wikipedia to find out what that was. Now you know that “Neuropsychology studies the structure and function of the brain as they relate to specific psychological processes (cognition) and behaviors”. You’ve also learned that neuropsychologists work in “clinical settings involved in assessing or treating patients with neuropsychological problems”. That’s nice but not necessarily helpful. You call your insurance company and find out that there are dozens of psychologists who do neuropsychological testing in your area. Your child is having difficulty in school and you find that the school also does psychological testing and it’s free. So now what do you do?

The truth is that any clinical psychologist who is licensed in the state or any school psychologist certified by the state, even if they are not licensed psychologists, can do psychological testing. They can also purchase tests that can be used for neuropsychological testing. “Testing,” however, is not the same as a neuropsychological evaluation. Dr. Edith Kaplan, a well-known neuropsychologist who was a former president of the International Neuropsychological Society, told a story during her presidential address. The story is that one of her mentors (who was a first generation neuropsychologist – although I don’t recall who) said to her that if she were stranded on a desert island with one of her colleagues and the only things on the island were a coconut tree, a coconut hanging from it, some sticks and sand, and while sitting under the tree the coconut fell and struck her colleague on the head, she would have all the instruments she needed to conduct an evaluation. Essentially this means that it’s not the test, it’s the tester. […]

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