Preparing a child for neuropsychological testing

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Preparing a child for neuropsychological testing

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When children come in for neuropsychological testing, they should be thoroughly prepared before they come for the visit. They will come into a room and there will be a table and chair set up. There are many different activities. Some of the activities might be fun for the child, some of them might be a little bit boring, and sometimes it will be frustrating. A lot of times, it will entail things like patterns and puzzles. There will usually be some academic testing. They might have to read a little bit and do some math; things of that nature. The activities and subtests are usually pretty short, so the child will be moving from activity to activity at a pretty rapid pace. That will generally help maintain interest and minimize frustration. One thing that parents should be aware of and should prepare their child for is the way that most tests work, is the child gets a certain number of answers correct in a row. Then the answers become progressively more difficult. When the child misses a number in a row, we stop that test. That can mean that the child is being asked questions that they don't know the answer to, which can be frustrating or make them feel anxious. However, if a child is properly prepared and is aware that this might happen and it's presented in a way that is normalized for them. It can actually be a fun experience for the child.

View Allison Kawa, PsyD's video on Preparing a child for neuropsychological testing...

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Allison Kawa, PsyD

Child Psychologist

Alison Kawa is a licensed child psychologist specializing in the evaluation of children and adolescents.  Her pre- and post-doctoral training emphasized child and adolescent testing.  She was a fellow in the UCLA Autism Evaluation Clinic where she acquired extensive training in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and a range of other developmental disorders.  During this time, she also obtained certification from the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center (UMACC) on the gold standard instruments (i.e., ADI-R and ADOS) used in autism evaluations.  Following her fellowship, she became Senior Assessor at UCLA where she worked for four years.

Alison completed the PsychoEducational Diagnostic Services Program (PEDS) Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Assessment at the Reiss Davis Child Study Center at Vista Del Mar.  In this setting, she conducted comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations for children and adolescents with a diverse range of issues including ADHD, Learning Disabilities, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders.  She also completed the Child Therapy in a School Setting program offered by Phillips Graduate Institute, where she gained training and experience in play therapy, social skills groups, and therapeutic interventions appropriate for adolescents. 

While completing her graduate training in psychology, she held a staff position at Working With Autism, Inc., where she worked individually with children with autism, provided case management and supervision, and developed and implemented a staff-training curriculum.  It was through this position that she acquired a love for teaching and training. In addition to her private practice, she teaches pre- and post-doctoral fellows at the Reiss Davis Child Study Center at Vista Del Mar, where she also works as a supervisor and consultant.

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