I like it when I meet people who are soft on the edges, without the borders of any definition. These are people who are artlessly curious and can laugh at the possibility of life being neutral. They are decidedly disreputable, because they shed contours easily and can afford all the wit and temperance of being any thing else but definite. Like them mine is the innocence of the primeval man, decidedly disreputable and artlessly curious.
Who is a Pediatric Neuropsychologist?
A Pediatric neuropsychologist or a neurodevelopmental psychologist is a clinical psychologist who is specially trained to understand and evaluate the relationships between brain functioning and behavior. They have advanced training in understanding how the brain works normally and when it is injured or afflicted with disease. He or she is familiar with medical and neurological issues and has knowledge on the developmental, behavioral and psychological problems of childhood and adolescence. He or she is proficient in administering and interpreting specific kinds of neurological and psychological tests that help explain behavior and cognitive processes.
What is a Pediatric Neuropsychological Evaluation?
A pediatric neuropsychological evaluation is an objective method that specifically involves gathering a detailed history of medical and educational history, behavioral data, and measuring the child’s memory, attention, problem solving and organizational abilities through behavioral observation and standardized psychological testing. It involves a clinical interview that includes spending time with the parent and the child about personal, medical, and school history. The purpose of the neuropsychological testing is to answer particular referral questions and concerns that assist in medical and psychological diagnosis. This assessment helps identify subtle disabilities, and clarifies the nature of cognitive problems underlying pediatric psychological disorders like learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders and pervasive developmental disorders. The obtained report is useful in planning a treatment model based on the child’s cognitive strength’s and weaknesses along with a contingent behavioral management plan and planning on whether the child may qualify for special programs.
Neurodevelopmental & Psychological Disorders
Neurodevelopmental disorders caused by impaired growth and development of the brain or central nervous system injury and psychiatric disorders with a biopsychosocial origin affecting cognitive, emotional and behavioral development of the child. Most psychological disorders in children involve biological or genetic components, while others do not have any physiological origin and are triggered by psychosocial factors. Disorders caused by physiological problems are best treated when identified early in life.
Significance of a Neurodevelopmental Assessment/ Pediatric Neuropsychological Assessment
A pediatric neuropsychological assessment effectively contributes to successful clinical decision making and rehabilitation in children and adolescents with congenital birth deficits, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, brain tumor, cancer, leukemia, sickle cell disease, neurotoxic exposure, central nervous system infections, genetic and metabolic disorders, and a full array of neurodevelopmental disorders comprising Pervasive Developmental Disorders like autism spectrum disorders, Attention Deficit Disorders and learning disabilities.
A neurodevelopmental evaluation is a long in-depth assessment of a child’s skills and is administered by a highly trained professional, such as a clinical neuropsychologist. Evaluation tests are used to create a profile of a child’s strengths and weaknesses in all developmental areas. The results of a developmental evaluation are used to determine if the child is in need of Early Intervention Services or an Individual Education Program Plan.
At times, when a child has a delay in one area (i.e. Speech), it can affect other developmental areas such as social or emotional. Therefore, it is crucial that a child receive intervention as early as possible.
-Hypoxic Brain Injuries
-Fragile X Syndrome
-Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
-Communication, Speech and Language Disorder
Pervasive Developmental Disorders
-Autism Spectrum Disorders
-Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
-Specific Language Disorder
-Traumatic Brain Injury
Child & Adolescent Anxiety Disorders
Child & Adolescent Depressive Disorder
Childhood Bipolar Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Separation Anxiety Disorders
Disruptive Behavior Disorders
-Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit Disorder
- Neurodevelopmental Assessment & Treatment (Congenital Deficits & Developmental Delays in Infants & toddlers)
- Neuropsychological Assessment
- Intellectual Assessment (I.Q. Assessment)
- Speech & Language Development Assessment
- Learning Disability Assessment
- ADD and ADHD Assessment
- Pervasive Developmental Disorders Assessment
- Parent-Child Guidance
- Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy
- Psychological Assessment- Personality Objective Tests
Neuropsychological Evaluation Helps
- Confirm a diagnosis of a neurodevelopmental or a psychiatric disorder
- Determine if emotional or behavioral problems are of a neurobiological origin, consequence of the child’s psycho-social environment or due to trauma
- Identify any neurological or psychological factors associated with attention and learning problems
- Determine if academic difficulties in case of a learning disability or attention disorder are due to cognitive or motivational deficits
- When a learning disability is suspected, a neuropsychological evaluation of cognitive abilities is necessary to identify the source of the difficulty and ascertain the areas of cognitive strength that can create a foundation for compensatory strategies and treatment options.
- Explain the declining achievement of a previously successful student, incase of a psychological breakdown and assess the effectiveness of treatment
- Obtain recommendations from collateral sources -medical and social, on accommodating therapeutic interventions in context of the child’s environment.
Applied Behavior Analysis
-Therapeutic Story Telling
Attention Training Procedures
Behavior Consultation & Therapy
Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy
Good Behavior Game
Nocturnal Enuresis Treatment
Object- Relations Psychotherapy
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy
Primary Care Behavioral Pediatrics
Clinical Profile of Dr. Varsha Dutta Pujari
In Pediatric & Adolescent Psychiatry, I was closely associated with a variety of child and family treatment modalities. I incorporated parent child interaction therapy and integrative psychotherapy with children with severe emotional disorders. I developed impromptu art and poetry as a means of bonding with them and found it effective while applying it as a tool in multifamily groups too. Children have this artless curiosity about them that is unassumingly simple. Being curious, they are sentient of living off their imagination, and one needs to participate in this brilliance to be let in. I have observed that their expressions through impromptu art sometimes even surrealist art like a Jean Arp painting will trigger reflections that sensitize you to acknowledge their intent and meaning. It is this emotional coherence in their being that is often misinterpreted. Most times, a child’s problems arise from a subtle absence of knowledge and empathetic awareness from their immediate environment. With teens in particular, it is necessary to be genuine and emotionally present. Therapy is most fruitful when parents equally participate as they are guided to recognize and understand their child’s particular needs.
I have keenly worked on childhood conditions like pervasive developmental disorders, attention deficit disorders, anxiety and emotional disorders, adjustment issues of adolescents and learning disorders. I have extensively executed neuropsychological evaluations and provided individual and family therapy, along with group therapy to children afflicted with HIV from non governmental organizations and was involved in their community outreach programs along with a senior consultant psychiatrist at Manipal Hospital. Later I began to teach community welfare members basics of child and adolescent therapeutic procedures.