Neuropsychological Evaluation 7 yr old

Hi, I need some recommendations for a neuropsychological evaluation for my 7 year old daughter.  We have already many assessments in the area of her academic learning.  I am now looking for a clinical diagnosis in the areas of ADD/ADHD, an autism screening and whatever else I am missing.  I have found a vast range in prices,  number of hours spent assessing the child, and wait time to get an appointment.  For example, I spoke with one specialist that charges 15k, has a year long waitlist and does about 60 hours of assessments/observations.  I also have found a specialist that charges 3k,  does only 8 hours of assessments and is available in 3 weeks.  Any suggestions out there for individuals to contact and how to choose the right person for a neuopsych eval??

Thank you

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Hi Rhoda - you should contact Dr. Maya Guendelman, based in Elmwood/Berkeley. She is extremely smart, caring, and thorough. Her reports and recommendations are clear and helpful - so you feel like you understand the problems and exactly what needs to be done to address them, specifically who can help (e.g., therapists, specialists, etc). My understanding is her prices are between the extremes you mentioned, and her report (that I've seen) is very individualized. That quote for $15K/60 hours of testing seems crazy to me given what you're looking for.  In my experience there's a wide range in quality of people out there doing "neuropsych" evals. Your best bet is to choose an actual neuropsychologist with a PhD- rather than a psychologist, school psychologist, etc. who say they do neuropsych testing -- it's not the same. A neuropsychologist who only does neuropsych should be able to integrate the results from all of the assessments you've gotten and help you make sense of them, figure out the appropriate diagnoses, perform testing that connects all the pieces together, etc. Finally, you should talk to the person you're considering (most I know of will offer a free phone consultation) and make sure they seem like they understand your needs and goals for the assessment. Dr. Guendelman will do that - and I seriously cannot recommend her highly enough. Plus she's from Berkeley and her PhD is from Cal. I know she works with kids in your daughter's age range too. 

My teenager had a neuropsych evaluation last summer and it was around $6000 and took probably 12-15 hours. This might be longer than usual -- he has severe focus issues and takes much longer than most kids to complete tests. The cost works out to several hundred dollars per hour which is in range for a PhD-level clinician with a very specific focus.  I imagine the cost goes up or down based on experience or reputation, just like every other profession. How we found our neuropsych is we got referrals from our son's developmental pediatrician who had made his original ADD diagnosis years before. We just picked a neuropsych based on convenience of location and it worked out fine.

You might consider consulting with a developmental pediatrician instead of a neuropsychologist if you think your child's main issue is ADD. A developmental pediatrician will not usually administer the full battery of tests that a neuropsych does, so it's far fewer hours, which translates to lower costs. Developmental pediatricians focus more on brain chemistry issues like ADD as opposed to identifying specific learning disabilities through extensive testing. We really liked our developmental pediatrician Dr. Eraklis in Orinda and I highly recommend her. She diagnosed our son with ADD  when he was in 2nd grade and we've continued to consult with her now and then over the years and she has always been so helpful and informative. The diagnosis she gave us in 2nd grade was all our son needed to get accommodations in school all the way through high school (a 504 Plan). But in order to get accommodations for the SAT and ACT this past year, he needed a full-blown neuropsych evaluation taken within the past 3 years, so we shelled out the money for that. It was much more detailed than the original diagnosis, and it uncovered a learning difference we had noticed but didn't have a name for. But mainly it confirmed what we already knew from the diagnosis many years before from Dr. Eraklis.  He has severe inattentive ADD!

Carina Grandison, Berkeley.  We had to wait about 2.5 months.  We're in the middle of our assessment and Dr. Grandison seems great, but you can read the other reviews of her to check.  Our son is a teenager and now we wish we had done this way sooner, so good for your daughter that you are taking this in hand at a young age.  Good luck.