Clinical Neuropyschology

Neuropsychology primarily serves patients on the inpatient Neuroscience Floor and outpatient clinics within the Neuroscience Institute at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. We evaluate patients with cognitive changes associated with medical conditions (epilepsy, brain tumor, childhood cancers, sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS) or medical treatments (brain surgery, shunt replacement, radiation, chemotherapy, bone marrow transplantation, certain medicines), brain injury, stroke, developmental disabilities (autism spectrum disorders, mental retardation), and neuromuscular disorders (spina bifida, multiple sclerosis). Results and recommendations of the neuropsychology evaluation are shared with the medical team, patients, families, and school. Remote attendance at the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) Meeting is available.

The Neuroscience Institute includes a Level IV Comprehensive Epilepsy Center with a 10-bed Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, 14-bed Neurology/Neurosurgery Unit, and high volume Outpatient Neurology Clinics. Our Pediatric Brain Tumor Program, in partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is world renowned; neurosurgical care and related services are provided at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. We also evaluate patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Brain Tumors, Multiple Sclerosis, Neuromuscular Disorders, Stroke, and other Neurological Conditions.

What is a Pediatric Neuropsychologist?

A pediatric neuropsychologist is a licensed mental health professional with broad knowledge of brain-behavior relationships and extensive training working with children diagnosed with complex neurological and medical disorders. Pediatric neuropsychologists have a doctoral degree in psychology with coursework in assessment, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, child development, neuropathology, and psychopathology. Two years of postdoctoral training are required. Certified Psychological Assistants have a graduate degree in psychology and expertise in assessment. They work closely with the Neuropsychologist to evaluate the child.

What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation?

A neuropsychological evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of thinking and behavior using standardized procedures. Abilities measured may include: intelligence (IQ), attention, executive functions (ability to plan, organize, and solve problems), learning and memory, language, visual-spatial, motor, academic achievement, behavior, personality, mood, and social skills.

A neuropsychological evaluation may contain some of the same tests as a school psychoeducational evaluation but assesses a broader range of skills and interprets findings in relation to brain processes and underlying neural networks. A neuropsychological evaluation involves an interview followed by a variety of tasks, including paper-and-pencil and computer-based measures of cognition and behavior. Testing typically lasts 2-6 hours but varies depending on the information being sought.

When is a Neuropsychology Evaluation Needed?

A neuropsychology evaluation is recommended when brain-based impairment in thinking or behavior is a concern. Results may confirm or clarify a diagnosis, identify changes in functioning since the prior evaluation(s), provide a profile of strengths and weakness to guide instruction, describe beneficial compensatory strategies, and result in referrals to other specialists. A neuropsychological evaluation is particularly useful for tracking progress in rehabilitation after brain surgery, brain injury, or other neurological disorder.

The purpose of testing is to elucidate underlying reasons for the presenting problem, allows for objective comparison of the student’s performance to age- and grade-level expectations, and make recommendations for educational and treatment planning. For example, a reading problem may be due to difficulties with phonological processing, inattention, inefficient memory, limited comprehension, or poor scanning of the print on the page. Results provide a more informed understanding of the student’s abilities to set reasonable expectations and improve self-image.

How to Prepare for a Neuropsychology Evaluation?

You may want to discuss with the child that a neuropsychology evaluation has been recommended to help them be more successful at school and home. Results will help determine the effect that his or her illness, injury, or treatment may have on their school performance, behavior, and social life. On the day of the evaluation, the child should be well rested and eat a good breakfast. Medication should be taken as usual. Bring copies of all school records to the appointment, including any prior neuropsychological or psychoeducational testing, state test scores, report cards, and Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). If the child requires glasses or hearing aids, please make sure they wear them. The parent should be prepared to stay on-site while the child is being evaluated. Following the evaluation, feedback about the child’s performance and recommendations will be discussed. A written report will be sent to the legal guardian and referring physician.

What is Cognitive Rehabilitation?

Cognitive rehabilitation is “learning therapy” to improve an individual’s ability to process information in order to better respond to the demands of daily life. Sessions emphasize instruction and rehearsal of compensatory strategies to strengthen adaptive skills and establish new patterns of awareness, thinking, and behavior.

Who are the Neuropsychology Providers at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital?

Brian S. Potter, Psy.D. is a Pediatric Neuropsychologist. Dr. Potter was previously at The Ohio State University/Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he held an academic appointment of Assistant Professor through the Department of Pediatrics, and was actively engaged in training of all levels of trainees in the Department of Neuropsychology, and participated in research including being the site investigator for an NIH multicenter study on the late effects of low grade brain tumors. Dr. Potter completed his Pediatric & Neuropsychology internship at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, Baltimore, and an APPCN approved fellowship in Neuropsychology at Baylor College of Medicine (Texas Children’s Hospital).

Nancy Clanton, Ph.D. is a Pediatric Neuropsychologist. Dr. Clanton was previously on the staff of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Fellowship and internship training in pediatric neuropsychology were completed at Baylor College of Medicine (Texas Children’s Hospital) and University of Miami School of Medicine (Mailman Center for Child Development). She earned her doctorate and undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama.

Olivia King, Ed.S. is a Certified Psychological Assistant. She earned her master’s degree in School Psychology and Educational Specialist advanced degree at the University of Memphis.

Lauren White, M.S., NCC is a Certified Psychological Assistant and Nationally Certified Counselor. She earned her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling at the University of Memphis.

April M. Huling, M.S., CPA is a Certified Psychological Assistant. She earned her master’s degree in M.S. Community Agency and Mental Health Counseling

For more information on Neuropsychology or to make a referral, please call (901) 287-6325.

Contact Us

Clinical Neurosciences
Department of Pediatrics
UTHSC College of Medicine
and
The Neuroscience Institute
Le Bonheur Hospital
777 Washington Ave.
Memphis, TN 38105

Holly Smith, RN, BSN, CPN
MEG Coordinator
901-287-7126 (phone)
901-287-4540 (fax)
Holly.Smith@lebonheur.org