Changes in child functioning pre-to post-neuropsychological evaluation
Combs T, Beebe DW, Austin CA, Gerstle M, Peugh J. Changes in child functioning pre-to post-neuropsychological evaluation. Child Neuropsychol. 2020;26(5):711-720. doi: 10.1080/09297049.2019.1702155.
Although a key goal of neuropsychological evaluation is to improve patient outcomes, research regarding changes in child functioning following neuropsychological evaluation is very limited. This project examined changes from before neuropsychological evaluation to several months afterward in parent report of their child's functioning and ability to participate across home, school, and community settings. Fifty-one parents of children and adolescents receiving their first outpatient neuropsychological evaluation completed questionnaires prior to initial parent interview and following the final report (of n = 162 who were mailed the follow-up questionnaire). Parents rated their perception of the severity of their child's problems, their child's ability to participate, and satisfaction with the child's ability to participate across school, home, and community domains. Analysis utilized MANOVA with bootstrapping to obtain standard errors and false discovery rate to control Type-1 errors. Parents reported a significant decrease in the severity of problems related to academic progress (p = .034) and overall severity of problems (p = .028) at follow-up. There was no significant change in the rated severity of the child's problems with peers or family. Parents reported significant increases in their child's ability to participate, and parent satisfaction with child participation, in school (ps<.001), at home (ps<.01), and in the community (ps<.001). Although this observational study cannot definitively show cause-and-effect, findings support the utility of pediatric neuropsychological evaluations in facilitating child functioning. These findings dovetail with prior work suggesting that such evaluations can increase parents' understanding of their child, awareness of care options, and efficacy in pursuing those options.