The assessment process is tailored to the needs of the client. A full assessment consists of:
♦ An in-depth Neurodiagnostic Interview with the client and/or family members.
The diagnostic or intake interview is the beginning of each client’s journey with ABF Behavioral Health. Lasting 90 minutes on average, this detailed session with the doctor is designed to determine:
a. The presenting problem or treatment goal;
b. The medical, behavioral, developmental, and biopsychosocial history of the client as it pertains to understanding the treatment goal; and
c. The further testing needed to accurately determine and/or confirm a suspected diagnosis.
Following the initial interview, and diagnostic impression, or what is considered the most likely diagnosis, is offered. However, it is considered hypothetical until confirmed by objective and normative testing, as follows;
♦ Neuropsychological testing as indicated.
Depending on the presenting condition and the case history, various normative tests are scheduled to support or rule out possible diagnoses. These tests include both survey questionnaires and performance based instruments. The domains of testing may address any or all of neurocognitive functioning (i.e. memory, language, attention, social acuity, executive functioning, and others), a personality and/or behavioral profile, and academic and/or occupational achievement.
ABF also offers broader batteries of behavioral health assessment for those in need of the most intensive testing and assessment (see also our area on Forensic Servies).
♦ QEEG Brain Mapping.
QEEG stands for quantitative electroencephalography. It is often referred to by its acronym, qEEG. It is a scientifically established method for evaluating brain function based on mapping the brain’s electrical activity. In this form of functional brain imaging, the brain’s electrical activity, as measured in 19 to 25 sites on the scalp, is analyzed using complex mathematical and statistical tools in comparison to published and FDA registered norms or averages. These norms are based on the electrical activity of thousands of individuals from several populations. The largest subset of qEEG norms, used for all comparisons other than the discriminant functions, are derived from individuals with no known neurological, developmental, or psychiatric disorder. Other subsets (those used for the discriminant function analyses) are based on individuals with a known history and established diagnosis of traumatic brain injury or documented learning disability.
This method of assessing brain function provides information about patterns of brain activation and communication that can then be related to difficulties in daily life functioning such as problems with attention, anxiety, mood, learning, executive functioning or violent behavior. For a broader discussion, we direct the reader to http://www.neurodevelopmentcenter.com/index.php?id=39 or, for a more detailed publication, http://www.appliedneuroscience.com/Huges&John.pdf
♦ Comprehensive report of findings, review with the doctor, and discussion of treatment recommendations.
The final steps in the ABF assessment process consist of combining the data collected from the interview, the normative testing, and the qEEG mapping study into a comprehensive assessment report. An actual patient’s sample report is available for viewing by clicking the link on the right (with personal and name identifiers removed, of course).
The report is lengthy because of the amount of data collected and analyzed, but it is not hard to follow when explained by your ABF practitioner. The various sections explain the results of each stage of the assessment process, and a summary section presents a final diagnosis or diagnoses, along with a recommendation of treatment modalities. In the appendix, the relevant data charts and maps from the test scoring software, and from the qEEG brain mapping analysis, are included as graphics.
Perhaps most important, the test results and brain maps are used to evaluate the progress and effectiveness of treatment going forward, by comparing the initial report to additional mappings every 10 or so treatments. The tests and maps do not lie! qEEG is not amenable to placebo effects. If neuropsychological tests are re-administered at the end of treatment, alternate test forms are used to rule out practice effects. ABF Behavioral Health is among the only providers of behavioral health treatment that provide specific, measurable results of the therapy you receive before, during, and at the end of treatment, based on normative biometric data.