Presentation on theme: "Neuropsychological Assessment in the School Setting"— Presentation transcript:
1Neuropsychological Assessment in the School Setting Stephen R. Hooper, Ph.D.Carolina Institute for Developmental DisabilitiesUniversity of North Carolina School of MedicineChapel Hill, NC.North Carolina School Psychology Association Fall Conference, October 3, 2011
2ObjectivesTo increase participants’ understanding of neuropsychological assessment versus other types of assessment.To increase participants’ understanding of various approaches to neuropsychological assessment with children, with a specific focus on the flexible battery approach.To examine various applications of neuropsychological assessment in the school setting, with a specific focus on writing problems in early elementary school children.
3Assessment: A Definition Assessment is a goal directed problem solving process that uses various measures within a theoretical framework. It is a variable process that depends on the questions asked, the type of student, and a myriad of social, developmental, and contextual factors. It cannot be reduced to a finite set of steps or rules.
4Neuropsychology: A Definition Clinical Neuropsychology is an applied science concerned with the behavioral expression of brain function/dysfunction. It is the study of the relationship between brain function and subsequent behavior.
5Goals of Neuropsychological Assessment Determine spared versus impaired abilities.Understanding impact of injury and/or a neurodevelopmental problem (e.g., LD).Assist in localization of function and dysfunction.
6Goals of Neuropsychological Assessment Assist in determining whether to remediate or to compensate.Generate suggestions for remediation and compensation.Growing base of evidence-based interventions.Suggestions for monitoring and tracking of progress in school setting.
7When to Consider a Referral Documented brain injury/insultSuspected brain injury or insultNeurodevelopmental disorderUnusual psychological profilePositive neurological findingsSevere behavior problemsTreatment needs
9Development of the Field Referred children appear more complex.Improvements in medical science have decreased mortality, but increased morbidity.Contributions by child development.New measurement techniques.Specific training guidelines for the field.Steady evolution over past years.
10Stage I: Single Test Approach (mid-1940s to mid-1960s) Goal:Global differentiation of children with brain damage from normals.Features:Use of general, all-purpose measures of “organicity.”Brain damage as a unitary construct.Strictly empirical and atheoretical.
11Stage II: Test Battery/Lesion Specification (early 1960s to mid-1970s) Goal:Detection and differentiation of brain lesions.Features:Use of varied battery of tests (e.g., Halstead-Reitan Battery)Greater appreciation for the variability of brain damageContinued emphasis on maximizing hit- rates in categorical diagnosis
12Stage III: Functional Analysis (1970s to 1980s) Goals:Specifying the behavioral effects of cerebral lesionsIdentifying the underlying components of impaired performanceFeatures:De-emphasis on the use of neuropsychological tests to make inferences regarding brain lesions“Re-Psychologizing” of neuropsychologyEmphasis on neuropsychological description
13Stage IV: Ecological Analysis (early 1980s to present) Goals:Relating assessment results to the child’s everyday life and future potentialSpecifying conditions for maximizing adaptive functioningFeatures:Emphasis on neuropsychological prescription and, most recently, evidence-based practiceEvaluation of deficits relative to developmental and environmental demandsBiopsychosocial framework
14Stage V: Integrative Approach (mid-1990s to present) Goal:A more precise integration of brain structures with corresponding brain functionFeatures:Use of more sophisticated neuroradiologic assessment procedures (fMRI, MRS)Requires concomitant measurement of neurobehavioral functioningA 21st century merger of neurology and psychology
16Neurological Examination Components Station and gaitMotor tone and strengthCranial nerve functionsSensory-perceptual functionsMental statusNeurostructural/neurophysiological measures (not routine)
17Largely assesses lower, and some higher, cerebral functions Major FeaturesTime efficientLargely assesses lower, and some higher, cerebral functionsTypically not standardized or normedTypically viewed as a screening procedure
18Psychological Examination Components IntellectualSelected aspects of cognitive functioning (e.g., visual-perceptual)AchievementPersonality/Social-Behavioral
19Largely assesses higher cognitive functions Major FeaturesLargely assesses higher cognitive functionsRarely includes measures of lower cerebral measuresUsually adequately normed and standardizedRequires extended time
20Neuropsychological Assessment Neuropsychological assessment represents a combination of the neurological and psychological assessment strategies.It uses assessment methods that tap both higher and lower cerebral functions in an effort to provide a comprehensive view of brain function.
22Neuropsychological Assessment: Approaches and Models
23Approaches to Assessment Fixed Battery ApproachEclectic/Flexible Battery ApproachBoston Process ApproachQualitative Approach
24Fixed Battery Approach: Characteristics Aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of brain function using an invariant set of validated test procedures.Major emphases placed on standardization and quantification.
25Fixed Battery Approach: Advantages Serves to assure a consistently broad-based assessment.Replicability.Provides a standard data base for comparative studies (clinical and scientific).
26Fixed Battery Approach: Disadvantages Generally does not provide an in-depth analysis of selected aspects of function.Inflexibility.Assumes a relatively high degree of patient compliance and no handicapping conditions that might interfere with task administration.
27Flexible Battery Approach: Characteristics Generally there is at least an implicit outline of the relevant neuropsychological constructs that should be assessed.Any of a variety of validated tests may be selected to assess each functional area.Psychometric properties and complementarity are usually key selection features.
28Flexible Battery Approach: Advantages Preserves the quantitative aspects of neuropsychological assessment.Potential for a balanced and broad-based assessment if tests are selected according to key constructs.Flexibility with respect to adapting it to different applications.Flexibility with respect to upgrading.
29Flexible Battery Approach: Disadvantages Possible constraints on replicability and comparability.Problems in making comparisons among measures that may differ in terms of norms, test construction, etc.Variable composition may preclude validation studies on the battery as a whole.
30A Construct-Driven Approach to Neuropsychological Assessment
32Neuropsychological Constructs: Fletcher LanguageVisual-spatial and constructionalSomatosensoryMotor-sequentialMemory and learningAttention[Fletcher suggests designing the battery around the characteristics of the disorder]
33Neuropsychological Constructs: Luria Clinical Model MotorSensoryAttentionVisualLanguageMemoryIntellectual
34Neuropsychological Constructs: Wilson Clinical Model LanguageAuditory integrationAuditory cognitionAuditory short-term memoryVisualVisual-spatialVisual cognitionVisual short-term memoryMotorFine-motorGraphomotor
36Motor Components Gross motor strength Basic fine-motor speed Complex fine-motor speedMotor coordination and planningSpatial-based movementOral-motorBalance
37Sensory-Perceptual Abilities Most evaluations typically assess the tactile, visual, and auditory modalities.The modalities of olfaction and taste are tapped less routinely, although olfaction can be disrupted in many traumatic brain injuries or neurological processes affecting the prefrontal cortex.
38Attention Abilities Selective Attention (Focus/Execute) Modality specificAlertness and DisinhibitionSustained Attention (Vigilance, Span)EncodingAttentional Set ShiftingDivided AttentionStabilize/ReadinessNeed to distinguish between attention as a process versus attention as a disorder.
39Expressive Language Communicative intent Oral-motor fluency Naming Word and phrase repetitionOrganization of outputVocal tone and prosodyPragmatics
40Receptive Language Phonemes Word and phrase comprehension Conflictual and comparative statementsVocal tone and prosodySpeed of processingPragmatics
41Visual Processing Visual recognition (faces, colors, objects) Visual discriminationVisual closureVisual-spatial (2-dimensional)Visual-spatial (3-dimensional)Visual organization and planningVisual problem solving and efficiency
42Memory and LearningModalityTimeRetrievalStrategies for retrieval
44Memory Components - Time Immediate/Short-Term – Information that you need once or for a few seconds.Long-Term – Information that you need to retrieve at a later time.Remote Recall – A special condition of long-term recall
45Memory Components - Retrieval RecognitionAutomaticEpisodic vs. Nonepisodic MemoryContextualized recallDeclarative vs. Procedural MemoryFacts vs. proceduresStrategies for retrievalMultiple repetitionsSemantic cuesPhonemic cuesAssociative learning
46Executive Functions (Luria, 1966) Executive function is defined as the ability to maintain an appropriate problem-solving set for attainment of a future goal. This set can involve (a) an intention to inhibit a response or to defer it to a later, more appropriate time; (b) a strategic plan of action sequences and/or; (c) a mental representation of the task, including the relevant stimulus information encoded in memory and the desired future goal-state.
47Executive Functions (Welsh & Pennington, 1988) Executive function is primarily the set maintenance required to achieve a future goal. This set would include the requisite skills of planning, organization, inhibition of maladaptive responses, self-monitoring, and flexibility of strategies contingent on feedback.Goldman-Rakic (1990) would add to this definition the concept of working memory.
48A Conceptual Model of Executive Functioning (Denckla, 1993) Delay between stimulus and responseInternal representation of schemaInternal representation of action planResponse inhibitionEfficiency and consistency of responseActive strategies and deploymentFlexible strategies and deployment
49An Empirical Model of Executive Functioning (Welsh et al., 1991) Speeded respondingVisual search - achieved at age 6Verbal fluency - > age 12Motor sequencing - > age 12Set maintenanceWisconsin Card Sort - achieved at age 10MFFT - achieved at age 10PlanningTower of Hanoi (3 disk) - achieved at age 6Tower of Hanoi (4 disk) - > age 12
50Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DlPFC) Executive FunctionsDorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DlPFC)Regions within DlPFC appear to influence:The selection of behaviorsRecognition of context-dependent changes between stimuli and behaviorPotentiation of sets of stimulus-response contingencies related to behaviors in contextFlexible, goal-driven control of behavior
51Executive FunctionsVarying levels of damage to the DlPFC are associated with:Lack of motivation, creativity, or goal-followingDifficulty in initiating or flexibly modifying actions, resulting in stereotyped responsesInability to assess others’ mental states – Theory of MindPerseveration and more random-choice errors than age-matched controlsIncreased distractibility and problems with sustained attentionImpaired working memoryUnderstanding of complex task rules
52Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex (VmPFC) Executive FunctionsVentromedial Prefrontal Cortex (VmPFC)The VmPFC is critical for elucidating the relation between stimuli and reinforcers and for explaining the inability of individuals with vmPFC damage to learn reward contingencies.
53Executive FunctionsDamage to the orbitofrontal cortex, consisting of both ventral and medial regions, leads to:ImpulsivitySensitivity to immediate rewardsLack of self-controlDisruption of both affective and nonaffective stimuliIndividuals with VmPFC damage tend to select behaviors with the highest perceived reward, not the highest perceived utility.
57Developmental Shifts Rate of information Volume of information Intensity (complexity) of informationWhile important for all children, knowledge of when these shifts may occur become critical for children with special needs because of the mismatch between the curriculum and their respective needs.
61Written LanguageThe study of written language as a cognitive process has slowly expanded over the past 30 years.High stakes testing and heightened accountability in writing present new challenges.Research efforts fall well behind reading and math.National Center for Learning Disabilities report, “The State of Learning Disabilities 2009,” doesn’t even mention writing disorders.New guidelines for the DSM-V propose to eliminate Writing Disorder as a diagnostic entity.
62Written LanguageThe cognitive origins of written language view it as a problem-solving process whereby authors attempt to produce their declarative knowledge.This is more challenging for preschoolers and early elementary school children as they are just beginning to learn to write.Most prevalent communication disability, with recent estimates being at approximately 15% (Katusic et al., 2009).Writing problems increase with advancing age (e.g., 25% of students are proficient on the NAEP Writing Test) (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2005).
63Written Language Key theoretical models provide guidance. Hayes and Flower (1980) – Classic recursive modelHayes (1996) – Revised recursive modelKellogg (1996) – Working memory modelBerninger & Winn (2006) – Not-So-Simple View of WritingDevelopmental unfolding of functions to facilitate writing
66The Not-So Simple View of Writing Model (Berninger & Winn, 1996)
67Written LanguageFrom a neuropsychological perspective, these models suggest the involvement of several key functions:Fine-MotorLanguageMemoryExecutive Functions and other regulatory mechanisms
68Executive Functions in Good versus Poor Writers Z-scores (M = 0 + 1)Hooper et al.. (2002), Journal of Learning Disabilities
69Memory Functions in Good versus Poor Writers VerbalNonverbalScaled Scores(M = )Test of Memory and Learning SubtestsHooper et al.. (2011), In Submission
70WJ-R Broad Writing Skills Kindergarten Teacher Attention Ratings and Written Language Trajectories515510Average Attention505500WJ-R Broad Writing SkillsLow Attention4954904854809.510.511.5AgeHooper et al. (2010), School Psychology Quarterly
71Kindergarten Language Abilities and Written Language Trajectories Hooper et al. (2010), School Psychology Quarterly
72Written Language Subtypes (n = 257) Wakely, Hooper, et al. (2006), Developmental Neuropsychology.
73Response to Problem Solving Intervention Hooper et al. (2006), Developmental Neuropsychology
74Writing Skills Development Project Funded by: Institute for Educational Science; PI - Hooper
75Specific ObjectivesExamine the cognitive underpinnings for the development of written expression.Examine the co-morbidity that is present in children at-risk for writing problems.Examine the response to evidence-based intervention for children at-risk for writing problems.
76Research QuestionsCan we create a measurement model that is relatively stable across early elementary school grades?Do the components of this model relate to written language in early elementary grades?According to the Not-So-Simple View of Writing, we would expect the fine-motor and language functions to correlate the strongest with written language in first and second grades.
77ParticipantsN = 205 students ascertained from a single school district in NC. (stratified across 7 elementary schools and associated classrooms).Inclusion/Exclusion criteria:English-speakingParticipation in kindergartenBulk of education in the regular curriculum
79MeasuresTasks were extracted from the various developmental models of writing and included measures of:Fine-motorLanguageAttention/Executive FunctionsTasks were normatively based, age-appropriate, and readily available to the typical clinician.
80Measures Motor Language Attention/Executive Functions PAL Finger Sense Succession-Dominant HandPAL Finger Sense Succession-Nondominant HandLanguagePAL ElisionPAL LettersPAL Word ChoiceAttention/Executive FunctionsVerbal working memoryVisual working memoryWJ-III PlanningWJ-III Verbal RetrievalVigil Errors of OmissionVigil Errors of Commission
81Neurocognitive Components Model Fine MotorAttention/ Executive FunctionLanguageWIAT IIWrittenExpressionand SpellingPAL Finger Succession DominantPAL Finger Succession Non-DominantElision/PAL PhonemesPALLettersPAL Word ChoiceVisual Working MemoryVerbal Working MemoryWJ-III Retrieval FluencyWJ-III PlanningVIGIL OmissionsVIGILCommissionsHooper et al. (2011), Reading and Writing.
82MeasuresThe WIAT-II Written Expression Subtest served as the primary outcome measure.At grades 1 and 2, the Written Expression subtest consists of three tasks: timed alphabet writing, written word fluency, and sentence combining.At grade 3, the student is asked to write a paragraph in accordance with a specific writing prompt.The WIAT-II Spelling Subtest includes items to demonstrate knowledge of written letters, letter groups, and words.The WIAT-II Written Expression Subtest was administered to the entire sample each fall, and at the beginning and ending of the treatment trial to the designated At-Risk students.
83Results Time Χ2 GFI RMSEA SRMR Grade 1 43.23 .99 .02 .04 Grade 2 54.71 .96.05Criteria: Goodness of Fit Index > .95, Root-Mean Squared Error of Approximation < .06,and Standardized Root-Mean Squared Residual < .08
86SummaryThe neurocognitive model works well at each time point and over time.There is strong relationship of the neurocognitive model with written expression (48%-58% of the variance) and spelling (74%-82% of the variance) at each time point.Executive functions and language abilities appear to contribute the most to these relationships.Suggests the foundation for an empirically-based neurocognitive assessment for writing in young children, but reinforces the need to include specific measures.
87SummaryThese relationships provide support for the neurocognitive components espoused by several different theoretical models of writing in young elementary school children.The invariant weighting of the specific constructs in the model at grades 1 and 2 does not support the sequential unfolding of the core neurocognitive functions.The developmental unfolding may occur at a different time point (e.g., does fine-motor happen earlier?).The relative strength of executive functions to written expression was surprising at this age, but highlighted the importance of assessing these functions early in written language development and interventions.
88SummaryReflection of the measures used? What will happen when other variables are added to the model (e.g., affect, motivation)?Will model work differently with younger or older children? Children with WD? Heterogeneity of WD? Response to intervention?Need more research to examine evidence-based diagnostic and treatment practices.What about linkages to neuroscience?
89The Importance of Cognitive Functions in a Response-to-Treatment Paradigm for Writing
90Research QuestionsCan we show improvement in the writing of at-risk writers using an evidence-based approach to writing?Do specific cognitive variables have any influence on response to treatment?Do selected cognitive subgroups perform differently in their response to treatment?
91ParticipantsSecond grade participants were screened with respect to their writing skills with the WIAT-II Written Expression scale.This resulted in 138 students deemed at-risk for a written language disorder (i.e., < 25th percentile), and 67 students not at-risk for writing problems.The not at-risk students were selected randomly at the school and classroom levels.Students deemed at-risk were randomly assigned into treatment (n = 68) versus no-treatment (n = 70) conditions.
92Measures Employed the same measurement model. The WIAT-II Written Expression Subtest served as the primary outcome measure.At grades 1 and 2, the Written Expression subtest consists of three tasks: timed alphabet writing, written word fluency, and sentence combining.At grade 3, the student is asked to write a paragraph in accordance with a specific writing prompt.The WIAT-II Spelling Subtest includes items to demonstrate knowledge of written letters, letter groups, and words.The WIAT-II Written Expression Subtest was administered to the entire sample each fall, and at the beginning and ending of the treatment trial to the designated At-Risk students.
93ProceduresComprehensive assessments were conducted in the fall of first, second, and third grade.Interventions were conducted via small groups (i.e., 3 to 6 students) between January and May of the second grade.Interventions comprised use of the PAL Lesson Plans #4 and #7 (Abbott & Berninger, 2003).Focused on development of alphabetic principle at the subword and word levels, and aspects of text generation.Manualized treatment protocol that is commercially available.Conducted twice a week for 12 weeks at 25 minutes per session.94% fidelity rate for the second grade intervention.85% attended at least 75% of the sessions.
94ProceduresStudents assigned to the no treatment at-risk group and the typical group received written language instruction via the regular classroom setting in a Business-As-Usual model.For these students, written language instruction followed a state-wide standard course of study.Writing skills were immersed in daily classroom activities, with little in the way of direct instruction for written expression.
95Question 1: FindingsAll three of the groups demonstrated growth in their writing skills over time.When the contrasts between the three groups are examined, the treatment effect was significant only on the quadratic component of the slope (B Estimate = 1.18, p < .006).The quadratic component represents an acceleration parameter, indicating that the treatment induced acceleration in the rate of writing skill acquisition for treated participants.The growth rate for the treated group begins to accelerate such that by the start of third grade the growth rate for the treated group has significantly exceeded the rate for the untreated at-risk group (B Estimate = 2.79, p < .003).Effect sizes were small.
97Question 1: FindingsUsing curriculum-based measures for the Treatment Group, we also found evidence for significant progress in:Writing Organization as determined by sentence structure and the total number of words correctly sequenced.The number of varied vocabulary words used.The number of words spelled correctly.The total number of words written.Overall holistic score
98Question 2: FindingsWhen the interactions between the treatment group were examined, both the attention/executive function and language moderators approached significance.There was no interaction between treatment group and fine-motor speed.For language, this was seen in both the linear (B = -1.42, p < .10) and quadratic (B = -1.95, p < .06) growth curves.For attention/executive functions it was seen for the linear growth function (B = 1.20, p < .08).These findings suggest that moderating effects of different cognitive functions cannot be ruled-out as contributors to the response-to-intervention effects.
99WIAT-II Written Expression Moderating Effects of EFs on TreatmentAssessment Time PointsWIAT-II Written ExpressionStandard Scoresp < .08
100Question 3: FindingsTo construct the latent class groupings, we employed the three latent variables from our measurement model (Fine-Motor, Attention/Executive Functions, Language) for the available 138 students.Findings revealed two empirically-based classes.Specific Deficit Group (n = 90), with average probability of class membership of .93.Low g Group (n = 58), with average probability of class membership of .93.
101Question 3: FindingsBased on latent class analysis, there were 5 groups:Typically Developing (TD)Specific-Deficit UntreatedSpecific-Deficit TreatedLow-g UntreatedLow-g TreatedFindings indicated that there was significant change over time on the WIAT-II Written Expression for all 5 groups.When we focused on the treatment effects within the two latent classes, significant treatment effects were observed within both the Specific-Deficit and Low-g classes.
102Question 3: FindingsFor the Specific-Deficit Class, the treatment significantly affects only the quadratic component of the trajectory (B = 1.28, p < .02), although the linear component of the growth trajectory approached significance in the expected direction (B = 0.73, p < .10).In each instance, the students in the treatment groups show a steeper slope than the untreated students following the intervention.In the Low-g Class, the treatment positively and significantly affects both the linear component (B = 1.54, p < .01) and the quadratic component (B = 2.08, p < .002).The Low-g treated group showed a faster rate of gain on the WIAT-II Written Expression score following the intervention.
104SummaryThis study provides modest support for the PAL Lesson Plans in the treatment of young elementary school children at-risk for problems in written expression.This change follows only 10 hours of intervention.The rate of growth for the treatment group was superior to the other two groups following intervention.This study also examined moderator effects on intervention for students at-risk for writing disorders.Both language and attention/executive functions approached significance such that lower scores influenced overall performance.
105SummaryIn addition to specific cognitive moderators, when latent class groupings of students were derived, a differential rate of change was noted.These differences were seen in:Students with skill deficits in writing, but with relative strengths in their executive functions.Students with overall lower functioning.
106SummaryAn RTI model and associated curriculum based measures may not be enough for many children to succeed with treatment.Perhaps other variables, such as executive functions, need to be considered and factored into the intervention paradigm.These findings suggest the need for more detailed assessments of many children prior to beginning an RtI paradigm so as to facilitate the effectiveness of instruction.
108ConclusionsThere is a long standing history of the involvement of neuropsychology with educational settings and learning.School NeuropsychologyKnowing the differences in how you approach an assessment as an examiner as well as from a consumer perspective is important.
109ConclusionsFrom an empirical perspective, under no circumstance is the wholesale use of IQ testing for identification of LD justified, and the same could be said for neuropsychological assessments.Evidence-based hypotheses should guide the assessment process (e.g., spatial abilities in math, phonological awareness in reading, executive functions in writing), and the use of neurocognitive constructs should facilitate this effort.Remember, it is a problem solving process!
110ConclusionsA comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation probably should be employed for the most severely involved LDs (e.g., the Tier 2-3 cases) and medically involved cases.Subtype X Treatment models remain to be verified, although the findings are mixed at present.Utilization of neurocognitive data in the RtI model has not been fully tested.A comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation also may be useful in younger learners or children with medical difficulties where neurocognitive abilities may be predictive of later learning.Given the high rate of co-morbid conditions in the school setting, these conditions also should be considered in the assessment process.The underlying neurobiological mechanisms may be inter-related (e.g., ADHD and RD).