We believe in assessing the “whole child,” by addressing not only the cognitive symptoms of your child's illness, but also screening for emotional and educational needs.

Our neuropsychology team manages care and special services for children with challenges caused by medical conditions that affect brain functioning and development. Our program is highly respected and in demand, with physicians referring patients from across the state and beyond.

In the Neuropsychology Program at Phoenix Children’s, clinical assessment is approached from a neurodevelopmental systems perspective that addresses:

  • The child as a whole
  • The child in various contexts (social, cultural, familial, academic and societal)
  • The neural substrates of behavior
  • Developmental changes in the brain and behaviors

Our assessment strategy emphasizes the close relationship among:

  • Evaluation and management
  • Broad-based data gathering
  • Integration of issues of diversity and culture
  • Ecologically valid assessments
  • Parent/child/teacher education


The first step is a full evaluation to assess your child’s abilities and needs. Our evaluation is activity-based and noninvasive, and our staff is experienced in keeping children comfortable throughout the process. Based on the referral question and presenting concerns, your child will answer questions and solve puzzles to assess:

  • Cognitive and intellectual abilities 
  • Learning and memory
  • Attention and concentration
  • Executive functioning (planning, organizing information)
  • Fine motor coordination
  • Use of language (not speech)
  • Adaptive functioning
  • Screening of emotional and behavioral functioning 
  • Screening of academic achievement

The evaluation provides a baseline and helps us understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Armed with this information, we can create a full report and recommend ways to help your child. If needed, we’ll assess your child’s progress in follow-up visits (usually every one to three years).

How We Can Help

After your child’s strengths and challenges have been identified, we can help guide decisions and recommend ways to help your child learn most effectively at home and at school. We can suggest strategies and techniques to help compensate for your child’s specific challenges and weaknesses. We can also help you, your child and family better understand your child’s condition, what to expect, how to cope and how to help your child thrive.

IEPs and 504 Plans

If needed, we can make recommendations for your child’s Section 504 plan or an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to guide your child’s school to help them meet your child’s needs. A 504 plan (named after section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act) offers guidance about how to help your child overcome barriers to learning in a regular classroom. An IEP provides a plan for your child’s needs through special education. 

If you would like your child’s school to evaluate your child for special education services, you will need to write a note to the school. The note should be dated and indicate your concerns and the child’s medical condition. For example, “Based on my child’s medical condition of [insert medical condition], as well as our academic concerns [such as, reading, mathematics, focus], we are requesting he/she be evaluated for support services either through a Section 504 or Individualized Education Plan.”

Follow Up and Resources

Some children need no more follow-up after the initial evaluation and recommendations. Others need to visit every one to three years. During these regular visits, we’ll assess your child’s development and progress and make any needed changes to our recommendations.

In some cases, medicine or surgery can help treat the underlying condition or its symptoms. Our team works with other specialists and healthcare providers to make sure children get the care they need. 

If needed, we can recommend rehabilitative services, such as occupational therapy. We can also refer you to resources in the community to help your child have positive childhood experiences and to help make life easier for you and your family.