The history of the Neuropsychological assessment was to assess the extent of impairment in relation to a particular skill to attempt to determine the area of the brain which may have been damaged following either a brain injury or neurological illness. Neuropsychological assessments test the functioning component of a part of the brain that typical neuro-imaging techniques can only identify as damaged. It can also look for suspected neurological disorders (ie. hydrocephalus, epilepsy/ seizure disorder, brain tumor), issues resulting from head injury or stroke, diabetes, exposure to toxins or understanding why there may be a lack of progress or decline in intellectual functioning.
Neuro-psychological assessments use specific neuropsychological tests to measure cognitive function, mental status, cognitive functioning orientation, new-learning/memory, intelligence, language, visuo-perception, and executive function. It should be remembered that as with any assessment the testing is only one part and other components such as psychological, personal, interpersonal and wider contextual circumstances need to be explored and understood as well.