Assessment Practices and Procedures in Children and Adolescents with Traumatic Brain Injury

Assessment Practices and Procedures in Children and Adolescents with Traumatic Brain Injury

Stephen R. Hooper, Ph.D.

Dr. Stephen R. Hooper gives an in-depth examination and discussion of how to assess the impact of traumatic brain injury on children and adolescents has a special focus on reintegrating students to school and the community. It is a much needed and valuable resource for rehabilitation clinicians, educators, psychologists, neuropsychologists and counselors in hospitals, schools, and private practice.

Pediatric neuropsychologist Dr. Stephen Hooper addresses the limitations of many current assessment methods with particular attention to the developmental impact of childhood trauma on cognition. He then provides a detailed framework by examining specific assessment constructs and procedures for motor functions, sensory functions, attention, language, visual processing, memory and learning, executive functions, and social and behavior functions. Each chapter has a special section on research findings and clinical practices for children and adolescents with traumatic brain injury (TBI) with recommendations for assessment procedures and measures with detailed tables for reference. This book is essential for all clinicians working with school age children.

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Full Description

The first section, Foundations, contains three chapters. Chapter 1 provides a basis for conducting various kinds of assessment with children and adolescents with brain injuries. Chapter 2 addresses different types of assessment that children may receive and includes discussions of neurological, psychological, and neuropsychological assessment. Chapter 3 describes various approaches to neuropsychological assessment and introduces neuropsychological constructs as a method for operationalizing a flexible battery, or expanded battery approach to children and adolescents who have sustained a brain injury.

The second section, Specific Assessment Constructs and Procedures, describes the targeted neuropsychological construct, specific findings in childhood brain injury, and details specific assessment procedures. Detailed discussions of child neuropsychological batteries and the psychoeducational tasks—including intellectual functioning—are included and are helpful for the examining clinician.

The final section, Related Assessment Issues, addresses additional, but important assessment issues that the evaluator or team should be aware of in order to conduct a thorough assessment of a child or adolescent following a brain injury.

Finally, the book concludes with brief recap of the major issues and themes and asserts areas of need for future directions in assessment of children and adolescents following a brain injury.

ISBN# 9781931117746
Pages 120
Year 2013


Stephen R. Hooper, Ph.D.

He is a licensed psychologist in the state of North Carolina with specialty training in child/pediatric neuropsychology. He is a tenured Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at University of North Carolina School of Medicine and holds additional appointments as: Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics; Research Professor in the Department of Psychology; Clinical Professor in the School of Education; Fellow at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute; and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical School. He is the Director of Education and Training at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) where he also is the Director of the Child and Adolescent Neuropsychology Consultation Service at the CIDD.

Over the last 25 years, Dr. Hooper has developed an international reputation in the field of child neuropsychology with a focus on neurologically-based disorders, including children and adolescents with acquired brain injuries. He has been actively working with state and national initiatives related to this population and has served on the North Carolina Council for Brain Injury in some capacity since its inception in 1990. He has worked on traumatic brain injury training initiatives with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the Division of Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities/Substance Abuse Services for over 20 years. Most recently, he has become the state Director of the state Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury (PABI) organization and is assisting in the organization of a statewide system of care for children and their families.

Dr. Hooper has spent his entire career working in interdisciplinary settings devoted to childhood neurological disorders, with a specific focus on assessment practices, assessment-treatment linkages, and community outreach for children and their families.


Table of Contents

About the Author



SECTION I: Foundations

Chapter 1 - Introduction to Assessment in Children and Adolescents with Traumatic Brain Injury

Chapter 2 - Types of Assessment

Chapter 3 - Neuropsychological Constructs and Expanded Assessment Procedures

SECTION II: Specific Assessment Constructs and Procedures

Chapter 4 - Motor Functions

Chapter 5 - Sensory Functions

Chapter 6 - Attention Functions

Chapter 7 - Language Functions

Chapter 8 - Visual Processing Functions

Chapter 9 - Memory and Learning Functions

Chapter 10 - Executive Functions

Chapter 11 - Social and Behavior Functions

Chapter 12 - Child Neuropsychological Batteries

Chapter 13 - Psychoeducational Assessment Procedures

SECTION III: Related Assessment Issues

Chapter 14 - Related Assessment Issues

Chapter 15 - Epilogue




Neurological involvement of any kind can have a significant impact on the functioning of a child or adolescent, not to mention the additional rippling effects that can occur in the individual’s school, family, and social circles. This is especially true in the case of childhood brain injuries, traumatic or acquired, where the sudden nature of the injury and its severity can alter the developmental progression, expectations, and environmental arena of an individual forever. Indeed, an injury during childhood or adolescence can not only alter the developmental trajectories of many cognitive and social functions in an obvious fashion, but it also can affect functioning in a not-so-obvious fashion. As an example, the behavioral manifestations of an injury may lay “silent” until developmental demands are placed on those specific functions. In this instance, the actual injury may be long forgotten and its contribution to later difficulties not considered. This may lead to other interpretations suggestive of oppositional behavior, laziness, or lack of interest. Recognition of the possible impact that a brain injury can have on a child in the moment, during recovery, and on future developmental functions is critical. Having an accurate assessment of the sequelae of a brain injury is an essential component of the recovery process. In addition, an accurate and thorough assessment can guide appropriate interventions and suggest ongoing developmental surveillance via related assessment and observational strategies.

When we penned our first book on this topic, Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury (Snow & Hooper, 1994) nearly 20 years ago, the state of the field was such that little training was offered in this area to professionals in medicine, psychology, education, social work, nursing, or other disciplines where such clients might be evaluated and treated. We predicted that innovative changes would be forthcoming. Unfortunately, despite recent efforts to increase the awareness of brain injuries, such as with our returning war veterans and greater recognition of concussions from sports-related injuries, there has been little forward progress with respect to integrating this information into formal curricula. Even with the changes in federal legislation to include traumatic brain injury as a special education classification under the federal special education law in the early 1990s, few changes to training programs in clinical psychology, school psychology, counseling psychology, social work, or special education have been implemented to increase the knowledge base and clinical competencies of these key professionals. Although programs in speech and language pathology and clinical neuropsychology may have an advantage in their study of brain functions and dysfunctions, even in these programs an emphasis has not been placed on the assessment of children with various types of traumatic brain injuries.

The primary purpose of this book is to focus on psychological assessment practices in the broad area of childhood brain injuries. It was designed to complement many of the other texts in the Lash & Associates’ library; consequently, there will be a sole focus on assessment practices, procedures, and related issues. Additionally, while the bulk of the discussion will center on formal standardized assessment tasks, informal measures should always be considered in the assessment process of children who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. Relatedly, this text will provide an overview of many of these standardized procedures and how they may fit into a construct-oriented assessment approach, but in-depth descriptions have been provided in other excellent volumes (e.g., Lezak, Howieson, & Loring, 2004; Strauss, Sherman, & Spreen, 2006), and the interested reader is pointed in the direction of these resources….

With this volume, it is hoped that the assessment needs of children and adolescents who have sustained a brain injury can be addressed in a more efficient and competent fashion. Additionally, for the field, it is hoped that this volume will provide guidance to encourage a paradigm shift in how children with brain injuries are assessed and monitored as they move through the process of recovery. In accordance with federal laws and guidelines, it is hoped that more timely and comprehensive assessments will improve the intervention for this population of children so that rehabilitation, educational services, and ultimately human potential can be facilitated. Finally, it is hoped that with improved assessment strategies, the chances of poor outcomes for children and families secondary to lack of services or poor services are lessened.

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