How to speak with your adult family member about the assessment

Many elderly patients are accompanied to the assessment by concerned family members.  Daughters and sons may notice memory changes well before their parents notice them.  Discussing the need for an assessment can create a feeling of being criticized for those needing the evaluation.  Some feel their children think they are "crazy."  Often the best way to discuss assessments is straightforward and practical. "Mom, we've been noticing some memory problems recently and your primary care doctor feels you need to have them checked out.  If we're wrong, great!  You have the assessment, and get everyone off your back.  If you do have some memory problems, we will have caught them early and can do something to help."  

How to speak with your child about the neuropsychological assessment

Many children are curious or concerned about their neuropsychological assessment.  A simple reassurance that this doctor’s visit doesn’t involve shots or anything that will hurt is a good place to start your conversation.  

I often tell younger children that we will ask them to play games for us- including memory games, puzzles, and computer games.  The way they play the games tells us how their brains work.  Once we know how their brains work, we will figure out how to make school and learning easier.  

For older kids, I often add that how they perform the tasks tells us what parts of their brains are strongest, and knowing that, we can devise ways of studying that will make learning information faster, and easier.

Often, less is better.  Start with a brief description, and then answer questions if your child has them.