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#ChildrensMentalHealthWeek: What is neuropsychology and why is it so important for your child's mental health?

Children’s Mental Health Week

Day 5

A pediatric neuropsychologist assesses a child’s thinking, attention, language, memory, visual, spatial abilities, and other behaviors. The information is used to help make medical and school decisions. We typically assess school age (4 years) children through early adulthood. The child must have a medical diagnosis that would affect cognition or behavior (e.g., epilepsy, brain injury, etc.).

The reason for referral should be evaluation of these issues not intervention. The assessment will begin with a meeting with a neuropsychologist followed by one-on-one testing with a psychometrist. Parents are asked to remain in the waiting room or on the hospital campus. During the assessment, children complete school-like tasks (paper-and-pencil, computer, etc.). Some tasks will be easy, while others may be challenging. It is important that the child try his/her best. There is no grade or consequence for wrong answers. Results and a formal report are typically available within a month of the evaluation. The report will include a test summary as well as recommendations for treatment and school accommodations. A feedback session will then be offered to families.

The neuropsychologists at Children’s Hospital are Dr. Rebecca Rothbaum and Dr. Catherine Kiracofe.

Dr. Rebecca Rothbaum is a pediatric neuropsychologist and medical psychologist at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. She earned her graduate doctoral degree at Widener University Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology in Chester, Pennsylvania. She also obtained a Post-Doctoral Masters in Clinical Psychopharmacology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. Dr. Rothbaum continues to practice because she has a strong affinity for children and a great interest in both psychological and neurological childhood disorders and treatments. She looks forward to guiding children to fulfill their potentials. She lives in the New Orleans area and is the proud mother one.

Dr. Catherine Kiracofe is a pediatric neuropsychologist and medical psychologist at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. She earned her graduate degrees from Widener University and Fairleigh Dickinson University and now works to assess how children with complex medical conditions learn and understand the world around them. Dr. Kiracofe also provides treatment recommendations tailored to each child’s unique cognitive style and needs. She resides in the New Orleans area and is the mother of one with another one on the way.