Dementia and other neurocognitive impairments
In addition to serving children, adolescents and adults with primarily learning/educational issues, Dr. Howard also serves many individuals with other neurological and neuropsychological difficulties. The assessment of cognitive deficits due to brain tumors, Lyme Disease, seizure disorders, lead poisoning and other toxic exposures, and head injuries of varying severity are often seen for both children and adults. For older adults, the assessment of the degenerative dementias, including Alzheimer's Disease, Vascular Dementia, as well as M.S., Parkinson's Disease, A.L.S., Huntington's Chorea, and anoxia due to cardiac arrest are also often seen for assessment.
The tests and procedures used to evaluate all these disorders are quite similar to those used to evaluate learning and attentional issues. However, the use of specific tests that glean more information regarding certain deficits associated with a particular disturbance are of course used with that population. For example, with suspected Alzheimer's Disease, a more in depth examination of memory would be of paramount important. Likewise, with respect to evaluating head injury, the assessment of executive and planning issues would of course be more germane.
Regardless of the nature of the neuropsychological difficulty, a full explanation and discussion of the tests and implications of the testing always takes place in a comprehensive and respectful manner. Involvement of family members and outside professionals is of critical importance, and every effort is made to coordinate recommendations and accommodations so that treatment is seamless and specific to the individual. Measuring performance establishes a baseline for evaluating future progress, as well as providing recommendations that match an individual's strengths and weaknesses. This can be of great importance when trying to determine whether an individual’s capacity for independent functioning is feasible.