If you have a broken arm or a bad cold, you go to the doctor for help and to feel better, right? Well, sometimes kids and adults have problems that can’t be seen as easily as a broken bone or a runny nose. When people have troubles with their feelings, the way they act, or the way they learn in school, sometimes they see a psychologist. These are people who have gone to school for special training in the way people think and feel and know how to help people feel better. A neuropsychologist is a special kind of psychologist—it’s easy to say if you break down the syllables: new-row-sigh-call-o-gist. A neuropsychologist has special training in order to tell how your brain affects your learning, behavior, emotions, and thinking.
A a neuropsychologist knows a lot about kid stuff, like how kids think, how they grow up, and how they see the world. She helps kids and parents figure out what is causing the problems at school or at home so they can feel better and be the best they can be.
Why Would a Kid Go to See a Neuropsychologist?
There are many reasons to see a neuropsychologist, but the biggest reason is so that you can start feeling better and doing things better. Maybe you’re having trouble getting along with your classmates, your brothers or sisters, or your mom or dad. Or maybe you’re having problems learning or paying attention in class, or your homework and your grades aren’t as good as your mom or dad thinks they could be. Maybe you have trouble remembering things so you forget a lot. Other reasons to go see a neuropsychologist could be that you’re very shy and have trouble making friends or that you feel sad, afraid, or anxious a lot. These are all examples of the types of problems that cause someone to go see a neuropsychologist
What Happens There?
During an appointment, you won’t be examined on a table like you are at a typical doctor visit. You’ll sit in a chair and talk, complete tasks that may seem like a game or brain teaser, and sometimes draw pictures. There are no needles or shots. If you’re having problems with schoolwork, a neuropsychologist may ask you to answer some questions or solve different types of puzzles. You will have the chance to talk about how you feel and what things bother you or make you happy. You may perform tasks on a computer or with pencil and paper. Sometimes you will do work similar to the work you do in school. Some tasks will be easy for you and some may be more challenging.
At your appointment, your mom, dad, grandparent or guardian might come in with you, or the neuropsychologist may have a private adult talk first. Afterward, the person who brought you will wait for you to finish. Depending on why you are coming to see the neuropsychologist, you may spend time with her for only one visit, or you may come see her several times across 2-4 days. You can choose to tell people that you are going to see a neuropsychologist, or you can decide not to share this information. Who you tell, or if you tell, is your decision.