Pediatric Neuropsychology

Programs and Services

The Pediatric Neuropsychology Outpatient Program provides comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations to children with a range of acute and chronic conditions that can have an effect on the brain and brain development. Children are seen though this program when they have difficulties or changes in their cognitive functioning—for example, in their learning, memory, attention, or behavior—in the context of a medical condition or medical treatment that has the potential to affect brain function. Assessments are available to children of all ages, from infancy through adolescence. Young adults are sometimes also seen when they are followed through one of the hospital’s medical clinics.

We work closely with referring physicians and other medical staff, and are integrated into many different multidisciplinary clinics and services throughout the hospital. Common medical conditions seen through this program include (but are not limited to): childhood cancers (e.g., leukemia, brain tumors); diabetes; epilepsy and other neurological disorders; heart, liver, and kidney disease/organ transplant; bone-marrow transplant; traumatic brain injury and repeat concussion; pediatric stroke; cerebral palsy; hematological disorders such as sickle cell disease; HIV/AIDS; some developmental disorders including consequences of low birth weight or prenatal substance exposure; metabolic syndromes; and genetic syndromes with known effects on cognitive development. Our neuropsychologists are also involved in assessments of patients before and after epilepsy surgery, of infants seen through the NICU follow-up program, and of patients referred for cochlear implants, among other services.

Neuropsychological evaluations typically involve:

  • An interview with the child’s caregiver
  • Review of the developmental, medical, psychological, and family history
  • Patient interview
  • Standardized questionnaires completed by caregivers (and teachers where appropriate)
  • A comprehensive testing battery (see below)
  • A written report that includes the history, results, interpretation of data, diagnostic impressions, and extensive recommendations for school and home
  • A parent feedback appointment (usually on a separate day) to discuss results and recommendations

Testing sessions typically take 1-3 hours for infants and toddlers, 4 hours for school-aged children, and 4-6 hours for older adolescents and young adults. Areas typically assessed include intellectual functioning, reasoning and problem-solving, attention, executive functioning, language, learning and memory, processing speed, and visual-motor skills. Some brief academic testing may also be included. In addition, your child’s behavioral adjustment and social-emotional functioning will also be assessed, to provide care that takes into account the “whole person” and is consistent with your child’s unique strengths and needs.

What to expect on the day of your child’s appointment

Psychoeducational Program

The Psychoeducational Program focuses specifically on academic learning problems in children whose learning problems are not based on a medical or neurological condition. Assessment services provided within this program help determine academic strengths and weaknesses for children who are experiencing educational problems related to reading, math, spelling, written language, and handwriting. Children seen through this program will also receive evaluation of their intellectual development as well as neurocognitive abilities such as language, memory, and attentional processes that contribute to academic success or failure. The Learning Disabilities Program is coordinated by Douglas R. Bloom PhD.

All evaluations within the Psychoeducational Program are completed on a self-pay basis.

Other Services

Autism Program

Children who have or are suspected of having an autism-spectrum disorder may also be seen for a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation through the Texas Children's Hospital Autism Center. A number of our neuropsychologists specialize in assessment of children with autism spectrum disorders.

Children admitted to the inpatient floors at Texas Children’s Hospital are sometimes seen for neuropsychological consultation or more comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation. In general, it is usually preferable to see patients for comprehensive evaluation after discharge on an outpatient basis, when their condition has stabilized.

However, we do conduct inpatient evaluations on more emergent cases, in situations where the patient’s current neuropsychological functioning is relevant to the care being provided or to discharge planning, for children who will be hospitalized for an extended period of time, or to help with differential diagnosis. For example, we see patients during lengthier recoveries on the rehabilitation unit, or who have been hospitalized just prior to receiving a transplant.

Physicians can refer patients for inpatient neuropsychological evaluation directly through our electronic medical record.