So what is the difference between Neuropsychologists and Clinical or Educational Psychologist?
There are many different types of psychologists, with the most common type of psychologist people think of being a 'Clinical Psychologist'. A Clinical Psychologist is someone who can assess, diagnose and treat psychological and mental health problems. These can include, but are not limited to, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and so on.
A neuropsychologist on the other hand is someone who can assess, diagnose and treat psychological disorders associated with brain-based conditions. For example, they can assess the cognitive, behavioural and emotional deficits resulting from a brain injury, stroke, dementia or a pattern of cognitive strengths and weakness in someone with a learning disorder or a disorder on the Autism Spectrum.
A neuropsychologist uses a series of tests to assess various areas of cognition and behaviour, such as memory, attention, learning, processing speed and abstract reasoning. This information is linked back to brain structures, to provide information regarding the impact of any identified areas of difficulty on a person's day to day functioning.
A neuropsychological assessment also differs from that conducted by an educational psychologist. An educational psychologist will assess a child's history, intellectual abilities, basic academic skills and conduct a screening psychological assessment. This type of assessment does not include tests to reliably capture cognitive difficulties associated with attention, memory or executive functioning weaknesses, as well as Autism Spectrum disorders or more subtle psychological/social difficulties.
A neuropsychological evaluation includes detailed investigation of a child's developmental, medical, social and psychological history, as well as an extensive testing battery that examines intellectual, academic, attention, executive functioning, language, visuospatial, visuoconstructional, memory and fine motor skills. The results of a neuropsychological assessment are intended to identify not merely any intellectual or learning difficulties, but also any other cognitive or psychological difficulty that may be a contributing to a child's profile.