Neuropsychological services are available to children and youth who have an underlying medical or neurological condition, or who have received brain trauma, surgery (e.g. neurosurgery), or treatment (e.g. cranial radiation, central nervous system directed chemotherapy), that may have affected brain development.
How we help
Our team is made up of three neuropsychologists, Dr. Harry Bawden, Dr. Tricia Beattie, and Dr. Megan Duffett, as well as two psychometrists, Mr. Nick Ciccarelli, MA and Ms. Sarah Martin, MA. We often have trainees working with us who are PhD level graduate students and/or psychology residents.
We provide comprehensive evaluations of neurocognitive functioning by measuring skills and abilities such as intelligence, problem solving, motor control, language, attention, learning, memory, and school achievement. We also evaluate socioemotional functioning and behaviour. The goal of assessment is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of children and youth, which helps to inform academic programming and treatment planning. The assessment has three main parts, as described below.
Prior to the assessment, we ask parents to complete a variety of questionnaires about the child’s emotional health, behaviour, and social functioning. With the parents’ permission, we usually ask the child’s teacher to complete a similar set of questionnaires. This helps us understand how the child functions outside of the home. On the day of testing, the neuropsychologist will meet with the parent/guardian(s) to gather more information by completing a comprehensive interview focusing on relevant background information and current concerns about the child’s functioning.
The child will complete a variety of hands-on pencil-and-paper activities, or tasks that involve assembling puzzles, answering questions, and problem solving.
Sharing assessment results
The neuropsychologist shares the assessment results with the family during a feedback session. The family also receives a copy of the assessment report at a later time. The report contains a comprehensive, integrated summary of the assessment results and recommendations for follow-up.
What to expect
You'll be notified of your child’s appointment by mail and/or phone call. The assessment will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will be structured like a school day. We usually try and complete the entire assessment in one day (with testing ending at approximately 3:00 p.m.); however, in some cases it’s necessary to break up testing across two or three days. If you believe your child might have difficulty coping with a full day of testing, or if your child has other needs that you would like us to consider as part of the assessment, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate these needs.
Most of the testing is completed with a psychometrist. The family also meets with the psychologist to complete a clinical interview at some point during the assessment session. There will be a 10-minute morning break at approximately 10:30 a.m. and a one-hour lunch break between noon and 1:00 p.m. We ask that parents are available to pick up their child during these times. The psychologist will meet with the family to provide feedback on the assessment results at a separate appointment time.
Please let your child know that this is not a typical doctor visit—there are no physical examinations, needles, or medical procedures. It’s important for your child to be well rested on the assessment day and to have a good breakfast. Please bring along your child’s glasses, hearing aids, and communication devices, if required, and be sure to give your child his/her usual medications on the date of the assessment.
Accessing this Clinic, Program or Service
Referrals are accepted from family physicians, pediatricians, neurologists and other specialists. New referrals are accepted for adolescents up to their 16th birthday.
Referrals should be directed to:
4th Floor Link, IWK
5850/5980 University Avenue
PO Box 9700
Halifax, NS B3K 6R8
The clinic is located on the 4th Floor of the IWK Link Building. Take the green elevators and register with the receptionist upon arrival. Please bring your child’s Provincial Health Card with you to the appointment.