04.30.21 My fun (not) day of Neuropsych testing and what it’s all about

In my opinion as someone who has taken different combinations of these tests three times, Neuropsych testing is the best way to see if someone has dementia and how it’s progressed from one testing to the next.

This took me four days (a couple of hours each day) to put together so that ya’ll understand what this neuropsych testing that I have is all about. Also, I am hoping it will help you see if it is something your loved one might benefit from having done.

This is Buddy and I on our way to the testing!

My Neuropsychological testing was Monday afternoon. On Monday evening and all day Tuesday, my brain was very incapable of thinking or doing anything. It wasn’t until today Wednesday, that I feel able to write. I put most of this together a while back so all I am doing now is adding my own experience in italics.

This link is to a post I wrote back in 2015 explaining a little about Neuropsych testing.

I can tell when I mention that I’m having updated Neuropsych testing that most people have never heard of it.

I call it paper testing which is very different than the medical brain and other testing.

I’ve had many medical tests to see what my brain is doing with dementia.

I’ve had the paper testing three times now. I looked it up and there first was in 2011, second in 2015 and this one in 2021. Between the first two there was not much progress which I was quite happy to know.

I’ll share the results of yesterday’s testing as soon as I can when I get the report on Thursday May 13th. I plan to have Chip with me when I see the doctor for that if it is permitted.

Here’s some information I found on the web from various sites about neuropsychological testing:
A neuropsychological evaluation is a group of tests to measure how well a person’s brain is working. The abilities tested include reading, language usage, attention, learning, processing speed, memory, executive functioning, reasoning, remembering, problem-solving, mood and personality and more

These tests are usually done with a pencil and paper in a doctor’s office. A neuropsychologist may also ask you a series of questions that you answer orally. Questions like what day of the week it is, who the current President is, what year it is and similar questions

A couple of simple ones were connecting numbers in the right order one connecting a number then the letter like 1 to A then 2 to B and so on.

Draw a face of a clock showing all 12 numbers in the right places and a time specified by the examiner. At first, I put 1 at the top and thankfully realized that was wrong. I’m not sure if I did the time on the clock correctly.

These tests covered by neuropsychological testing include:

  • Your ability to think, understand, learn, and remember (cognition)
  • Memory
  • Motor function (walking, coordination, etc.)
  • Perception (how well you take in what you see or read)
  • Problem-solving and decision-making
  • Verbal ability

All types of testing that an individual does in one of these sessions is based on that person’s individual issue. Some of the different types of test, including:

Memory test: Repeat a list of words, sentences, or numbers. I was given 10 words to repeat back to the tester. These same 10 words were given at two other times during the testing and I repeated what I remembered. At the end, she didn’t tell me the words but wanted to know which ones I remembered without her prompting. I was also read a few sentences about an event and was asked to repeat what I could remember. She did not repeat the sentence but asked me two more times during the session what I could repeat back to her that I remembered in the story. I don’t believe either one of these went well.

Cognition test: Explain how two items are alike. For instance, if you see a picture of a dog and a cat, you might answer that they’re both animals or that they are both pets. That is the simplest comparison question. They get much harder as they ask more. I don’t remember what the harder ones were but I couldn’t figure out how a lot of them were alike.

Verbal communication test: Name some items as the person giving the test points at them. I was also given the topic fruits and vegetables and told to name as many as I could. I think I did well on this part

Motor tests: These might include tasks such as putting blocks together in the same way a picture has them. This graphic I found shows the blocks and one of the many pictures I was to make the blocks look like.
The worse test was to pick out of a row of pictures the one that would fit into the series of pictures above that. This was something I was able to do easily earlier in my life. She wanted me to guess if I didn’t know and at least half of them were guessed. During this one, I wanted to scream and cry it was so difficult. I searched and searched just now for a graphic showing what this test looks like but could not find anything.
The other test that was so upsetting to me was the math portion. Only the last question was harder than a 6th grader could do. I could not remember any of the rules of fractions, division, add up big numbers. This was the only other time I showed my exasperation to the tester. I told her I had been a Vice President of a Savings and Loan dealing with numbers all the time and I made all As in math-related classes in college but I couldn’t remember how to do half the problems.

No matter what type of neurological test you take, you won’t need to study for it.

The testing takes between 2 to 5 hours. My testing was 2.5 hours.

The next two paragraphs are different ways of explaining the testing.

Neuropsychological tests are standardized, meaning that they are given in the same manner to all patients and scored in a similar manner time after time. An individual’s scores on tests are interpreted by comparing their score to that of healthy individuals of a similar demographic background (i.e., of similar age, education, gender, and/or ethnic background) and to expected levels of functioning. In this way, a neuropsychologist can determine whether one’s performance on any given task represents a strength or weakness. Although individual scores are important, the neuropsychologist looks at all of the data from the evaluation to determine a pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses and, in turn, to understand more about how the brain is functioning.

Neuropsychological tests evaluate functioning in a number of areas including intelligence, executive functions (such as planning, abstraction, conceptualization), attention, memory, language, perception, sensorimotor functions, motivation, mood state and emotion, quality of life, and personality styles. The areas addressed in an individual’s evaluation are determined by the referral question (what the referring doctor and patient want to know), patient’s complaints and symptoms, and observations made during the interview and test administration.

Like I said at the beginning of this post I put it together so that ya’ll understand what this neuropsych testing that I have is all about. Also so that you can see if it is something your loved one might benefit from having done I want you to know what they are about.

My brain wasn’t worth anything near the end of the testing. It was what I would describe as really tired.

Chip surprised me after the testing by driving to a place near the doctor’s office. When we got out of the car he told me to close my eyes and hold his hand while he guided me to someplace special. Wow, when I opened my eyes there were blackberries all over. It was the most I’ve ever seen and I loved getting to pick them until I could pick no more! Here’s a picture of them and the blackberry cobbler I made with them! You know, that kid of mine takes good care of his mama!

I’m not sure how much sense this all made or how it flowed but it’s what I could do. It took four days to get it done.

Ya’ll have a blessed weekend! Rosalyn

One thought on “04.30.21 My fun (not) day of Neuropsych testing and what it’s all about

  1. Rosalyn thanks for being so open with your life. It makes other feel comfortable and helps me to learn so much and what to look for. You give everyone hope which is something we need right now. Sure miss the good ole days. Love you much Kelly

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