Understanding the brain
- The human brain is the most complex entity in the known universe. We are only beginning to understand the wonder of brain functioning
- Psychoneurological assessment is a procedure of identifying how your brain works, or perhaps how portions of the brain seem not to be working normally.
- Our particular interest in psychoneurological assessment is to understand an individual’s special abilities, according to our philosophy of understanding strengths before understanding weaknesses and limitations.
What are some of the strengths of the brain that we look for?
- Hemispheric differences. Some people are stronger in their “left brain”, and as a result tend to like reading, math, concepts, and production
- People who are more “right brained” in their strengths may be much better at music, art, emotional awareness, and creativity
- Some people are “multiply-focused” and are able to multi-task easily; others are singularly focused and need to focus on one task at a time
- Some people have one of the five senses that is highly developed
- Some people are very bright, but as a result of their brilliance tend to get bored or have social difficulties.
- There are many different intelligences, and it is important to understand what kind of intelligence an individual has in order to effectively use it
What are symptoms of possible brain weaknesses?
- Difficulty in writing, reading, spelling, and speaking
- Difficulty in arithmetic or math
- Difficulty in motor control, whether gross motor or fine motor
- Visual distortions, hallucinations, or deteriorating vision
- Explosions of feelings, such as anger, sorrow, or giddiness
- Impaired social ability
Can we detect and diagnose major brain malfunctions?
- There are subtle differences among the deteriorating diseases of Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington's Disease, ALS and Alzheimer's Disease.
- Closed head injury, such as from an accident can be examined to determine any loss of function that may have resulted
Are there mental disturbances that have neurological origins?
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) appears to have a specific neurological origin
- Autism and Asperger’s disorder appear to be neurological in origin
- There may be neurological origins to some forms of depression, anxiety, and addictions
- Some evidence suggests that schizophrenia is neurological in origin
- Learning disabilities have a neurological origin
What is a learning disability?
A learning disability is, as the name suggests, a neurologically-based limitation that makes certain forms of learning and performance difficult
The known learning disabilities include:
- Dyslexia: difficulty in reading
- Dyscalculia: difficulty in arithmetic or math
- Dysnomia: difficulty naming things
- Dysgraphia: difficulty in physically writing
- Dysphasia: difficulty expressing a thought
- Dysarthria: difficulty speaking
What is the process of psychoneurological assessment?
- Initial diagnostic session with psychologist, 1.5 hours
- Testing session, 2-4 hours
- Interpretation session, 1.5 hours
- Written report
What is the value of psychoneurological testing?
- Identifying brain strengths
- Developing self-confidence regarding these strengths
- Identifying brain limitations
- Developing self-confidence even with these limitations
- Developing a program of life to utilize strengths and develop limitations
- An academic program for students
- A vocational program for adults
- An advanced training program for students or adults
- Advising schools, family, and employers
Are practical suggestions made for utilizing the findings of psychoneurological testing?
- The report is very specific about how these findings can be used
- Specific encouragement is given to more fully utilize brain strengths
- Specific recommendations are given to enhance limitations
- Annual follow-up testing is encouraged to observe changes and development