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What is Neuropsychology?
Neuropsychology is a sub-specialty of professional psychology that provides diagnostic assessment of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional changes that occur due to neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative or acquired disorders of the brain. Neuropsychological assessment is often indicated in patients with a variety of medical illnesses or when cognitive change or impairment is suspected due to:
- Traumatic, anoxic, metabolic or toxic brain injury
- Substance Abuse
- Dementia / Degenerative Disorders
- Mild cognitive impairment
- Seizure disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Brain Tumors
- Developmental disorders
Assessment typically involves a clinical interview with patient and family members and formal cognitive testing. Individual assessment is geared to answer specific referral questions posed by the referral source. Testing may include measures of:
- Intellectual functioning
- Visuospatial abilities
- Motor skills
- Executive functioning (attention, speed of processing, planning/organization)
- Adaptive behavior
- Academic achievement
- Emotional/affective functioning
Neuropsychological assessment can provide useful information in a number of ways. It may be used to:
- Identify mild or subtle cognitive deficits often critical to early diagnosis/treatment
- Help to diagnose neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's Dementia
- Establish a cognitive baseline to assist in later diagnostic assessments
- Identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses to help with discussions of disease/injury recovery and course
- Assist in decision-making regarding return to school, work, driving, sports, independent living, etc.
- Educate patients and family regarding cognitive issues, recovery time frame and course, and development of compensatory and coping strategies
- Assist in determining a patient's capacity to consent to treatment or manage their own affairs
The WakeMed Neuropsychology offices are located in the rehabilitation hospital at WakeMed Raleigh Campus on New Bern Avenue. Inpatient neuropsychological consultation services and outpatient comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations are available at that location.
How to Make an Appointment or Referral
Appointments: If you think you would benefit from a neuropsychological evaluation, speak first with your physician and ask that they write a prescription for the service (helps to assure insurance will consider it a covered benefit). Your physician can send in referral information (see Referrals below) or you can call us directly at 919-350-7878 for more information.
Referrals: If you think your client or patient would benefit from a neuropsychological evaluation, please complete the Neuropsychology Referral Form and fax it, along with pertinent medical records, to 919-350-7130. We will then contact your patient directly to schedule the appointment, and will provide you with a copy of the evaluation upon completion. If you have questions, call the Neuropsychology Referral Line at 919-350-7878.
Day of the Appointment
Most outpatient appointments are scheduled in the morning. Please arrive about 30 minutes before the appointment time to register. Take all of your regular medicines that morning as prescribed and bring a list of current medications to your appointment. Please also bring copies of any pertinent medical records.
Some reading may be required so if you wear glasses, please bring them to the appointment. In addition, bring a family member with you. The appointment will likely take several hours and if it goes into the afternoon, you will be given a lunch break (please bring a lunch or money to purchase lunch). If you have questions or need directions, call 919-350-7878.
If you cannot make your appointment, please call us as soon as possible at 919-350-7878. Leave a message regarding your need to cancel or reschedule. A staff member will return your call as soon as possible.
Meet Our Staff
WakeMed Neuropsychology is the largest and most comprehensive neuropsychology practice in the Triangle area. A full range of adult and pediatric neuropsychological services are provided.
Laurie R. Leach, Ph.D., FACPN
Dr. Leach joined WakeMed Neuropsychology in 1995. She is board certified by the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology and a Fellow of the American College of Professional Neuropsychology. Dr. Leach also serves as Program Director of WakeMed's Brain Injury Rehabilitation System (BIRS). She specializes in adult neuropsychology, with special interests in acquired brain injury, cerebrovascular accident, and dementia.
Jessica Matthes, Ph.D.
Dr. Matthes joined WakeMed Neuropsychology in 2011. She specializes in adult neuropsychology, with special interest in brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, stroke and dementia.
Lyana Nechyba, Ph.D.
Dr. Nechyba joined WakeMed Neuropsychology in 2013. She recieved her doctorate in clinical psychology with specialization in Neuropsycholgy from the University of FLorida-Gainesville and did an internship at Kennedy Krieger Institute/John Hopkins University. Dr. Nechyba provides lifespan services, seeing adults, adolscents, and children. Her interests include spinal cord injury as well as neurocognitive assessment.
Karen L. Wilhelm, Ph.D., FACPN
Dr. Wilhelm joined WakeMed Neuropsychology in 1995. She is board certified by the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology and a Fellow of the American College of Professional Neuropsychology. Dr. Wilhelm specializes in adult neuropsychology, with special interests in acquired brain injury, cerebrovascular accident and dementia.
Kate Wilson, Ph. D.
Dr. Wilson joined WakeMed Neuropsychology in September, 2011. She specializes in child, adolescent and young adult neuropsychology with individuals who have acquired and/or neurodevelopmental differences.
Jennifer L. Bjorling
Jennifer joined WakeMed Neuropsychology in 2007. She has been employed by WakeMed Health & Hospitals since 1986.
Neuropsychology Related Links:
National Academy of Neuropsychology: www.nanonline.org
American Psychological Association: www.apa.org
APA Division 40 Clinical Neuropsychology: www.div40.org
International Neuropsychological Society: www.the-ins.org
American Board of Professional Neuropsychology: www.neuropsychologyboard.org