Clinical Neuropsychology is a specialty in professional psychology that focuses on assessing brain functioning. Through the use of special tests and methods, patterns of strengths and weakness are clarified, assisting with differential diagnosis and for making important health care or educational decisions. In instances where a child is the focus of assessment, the evaluation prioritizes learning and behavioral characteristics with the emphasis on guiding teachers, therapists, and parents to work towards better achievement in school and more successful social and family participation. This is different from a school-based psychological assessment where the focus is determining whether a child qualifies for special education programs or therapies. Neuropsychological evaluations in contrast, seek to diagnose learning or behavior disorders brought about by subtleties in brain function. The neuropsychological assessment also helps to distinguish weaknesses that result from how the brain functions from concerns associated more with emotional or psychological issues. Unless this distinction is made, effective rehabilitation, therapeutic and educational approaches are not likely to be identified.
Evaluations are individually tailored to meet the specific needs of each person and therefore, some abilities may be more thoroughly assessed than others. Generally, a typical neuropsychological evaluation will involve assessment of the following:
Achievement skills such as reading, writing and math
Higher level executive functions (e.g., planning and organization)
Attention and concentration
Learning and memory
Language and communication
Motor and sensory skills
Emotional and behavioral functioning
Testing is usually suggested by a doctor or other professional because symptoms affecting daily life functioning are present. These concerns may be due to any of a number of causes including those involving medical, neurological or psychological factors and testing will be helpful in understanding your specific situation.
Examples of typical referrals include differential diagnosis of dementia; evaluation to determine cognitive, emotional, or behavioral symptoms subsequent to an acquired brain injury such as stroke or TBI; to define cognitive strengths and weaknesses in persons who have already been diagnosed with a neurological disease (for example, genetic conditions, Multiple Sclerosis, brain tumor); diagnosis of learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Pervasive Developmental disorder (PDD); when testing accommodations are required; for determination of mental capacity; and in cases where decisions about appropriate school placement are necessary.
The New Patients section offers some additional details about the neuropsychological examination process.
Psychological therapy is the process by which “conversation” facilitates changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It is a process by which evidenced-based methods are drawn upon to help patients develop healthier, more effective ways of living life. There are various forms of psychotherapy — including cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal and other kinds of talk therapy. Dr. Sandberg’s therapy approach is correlational in that he draws upon and integrates methods that best match patients' needs at various stages in the therapy process.
Cognitive rehabilitation is a therapeutic process that seeks to develop new habits, routines, and strategies to overcome, compensate for, or accommodate deficits in the cognitive and behavioral realms brought about by injury to the brain. The process, offered through individualized intervention, is provided in a manner that promotes progress towards identified goals that are collaboratively developed at the outset of treatment. Addressing deficits in cognition such as diminished attention, memory loss, problem-solving and executive dysfunction is conducted both within the office setting and through a recommendation of approaches during daily activities, that maximize transfer of learned skills to every-day life.
Forensic & Other Consultations
Dr. Sandberg is available for forensic and other consultations including independent medical examinations (IME's), Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE’s), psychological consultation for law enforcement, disability determinations, record review, and trial consultation. In forensic contexts, neuropsychological assessment provides scientifically informed and unbiased documentation as to the absence or presence of brain impairment and accompanying cognitive deficits, information which is most helpful to the trier of fact in matters such as personal injury cases involving brain injury.