Autism Diagnostic Research Centre
Tel: 023 8020 2631

Neuropsychological assessment

Introduction

We know that autism affects the way a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. We also know that there are some particular skills that people with autism find more difficult.

The Neuropsychological Assessment is not diagnostic, but the information that it can provide can inform the diagnostic process.

Using standardised, replicable measures the Neuropsychological Assessment assesses:

  • speed of processing
  • language skills
  • visual-perceptual skills
  • executive functioning (e.g. attention, problem solving skills, planning ability)
  • social perceptual skills

In some cases other cognitive skills may need to be assessed to gain a better understanding of the difficulties that someone has. The Neuropsychological Assessment may therefore also include an assessment of:

  • general cognitive functioning
  • memory

Overview of the Neuropsychological assessment

In the video below, Pat Abbott (Neuropsychologist) provides an overview of the assessment, and its place within the overall diagnostic process.

Read the transcript of the video

"The idea of the neuropsychological assessment is to identify people's strengths, but also to identify what difficulties they have. We use a range of paper and pencil tasks, a touch-screen computer, and also video clips, to assess speed of information processing, visual planning and integration skills, executive functioning, attention, problem-solving, organisation, and also social perceptual skills.

Although the neuropsychological assessment isn't diagnostic, we are looking for a particular profile in people with autism, because we know the dfficulties that they have and the way that autism affects the brain. We can also use the results of the neuropsychological assessment to help the person understand how they can use their strengths to compensate for the difficulties that they have, and also what strategies they might use to help them overcome those difficulties.

The whole aim of this is to help them lead more rewarding and fulfilling lives."

Pat Abbott, Neuropsychologist