Traumatic Brain Injury - moderate to severe injuries to the brain can lead to chronic and significant cognitive problems. Depending on the brain region affected, impairments can occur in nearly any domain including attention, processing speed, visual skills or memory.
Concussion - despite myths, extensive medical research has shown that concussions do not result in long-term cognitive symptoms. The outdated idea of "cognitive rest" can actually be harmful to the healing brain, and can lead to increased post-concussive symptoms and slower symptom resolution. Comprehensive assessment can help you understand other reasons why symptoms frequently persist. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2015/01/01/peds.2014-0966.full.pdf.
Epilepsy- although many people with seizures do not have severe cognitive difficulties, the majority of affected children and adults experience difficulties with attention, memory, learning, processing speed, and/or psychological functioning. ADHD is extremely common.
Stroke - in children and adults, stroke often leads weakness/paralysis, neglect, speech/language impairments, vision difficulties, cognitive changes (memory, judgment, problem-solving), behavior, personality or emotional changes. A neuropsychological evaluation is essential for the best prognosis.
Cerebral Palsy - CP is a brain-based motor disorder that typically results from a stroke or hypoxic event during the peri-natal period. Many individuals with CP have neurocognitive difficulties in addition to motor needs.
Spina Bifida - failure of adequate closure of the neural tube during embroytic development, spina bifida can range from mild to severe neurological and cognitive impairments.
Brain Tumors - at any age, an abnormal growth within the central nervous system, as well as treatments for tumors (radiation, chemotherapy) can affect a variety of brain-based skills.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - in addition to attention difficulties, this extremely common disorder almost always leads to impaired executive functions (inhibition, impulsivity, problem solving, working memory, processing speed, organization).
Anxiety - constant worry and rumination severely impact attention and processing speed. Appropriate diagnosis is essential as symptoms may be inappropriately diagnosed as ADHD.
Depression - significant sadness or hopelessness can negatively impact many thinking skills. Depressed individuals may experience slowed processing speed, attention problems, and executive dysfunction.
Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder - OCD is very impairing and can severely affect an individual's ability to process information, recall details, and remain focused and organized. There is high overlap with ADHD.
Intellectual Disability - this diagnosis refers to impaired cognitive and adaptive abilities, most often from unknown causes but associated with many genetic and medical conditions. While individuals with ID can learn, function, and make life progress, abilities are significantly lower than those of same-aged peers.
Autism Spectrum Disorder - ASD is disorder of social skills, accompanied by severely restricted interests and unusual, repetitive motor mannerisms. ASD is very frequently confused with anxiety, ADHD, and language impairments. There is no single test for ASD. Diagnosis is made based on many data points, including extensive interview, family/teacher report, observations,and formal test results.
Specific Learning Disorder with Impairment in Reading, Math or Writing (previously known as dyslexia, dyscalculia & dysgraphia) - traditionally, these disorders were defined as significant discrepancy between an individual's IQ (intelligence) and academic skills. Although the field of LD has evolved, much confusion and controversy exists among professionals and educators. A comprehensive evaluation can help clearly delineate skills and determine if diagnosis of LD is appropriate. Physicians are not qualified to make these diagnoses, as they do not have training in administration of standardized assessment instruments. Public schools do not accept letters from physicians documenting learning disabilities; standardized assessment is required.
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