Neuropsychology in the schools: A comparison of neuropsychological and psychoeducational approaches to the assessment of learning disabilities

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Larwrence Lewandowski


neuropsychological assessment techniques

Subject Categories

Special Education and Teaching


Learning disabilities have traditionally been diagnosed within a school setting using a psychoeducational approach. A neuropsychological framework has been proposed as a viable means of assessing learning disabilities in school-aged children. To date, there are little empirical data to support this view. Seventy-three special education teachers employed in public schools within New York State read either a psychoeducational or a neuropsychological report based on a youngster with a learning disability. Subjects responded to questionnaires dealing with their perceptions of the report, likes and dislikes, as well as generating recommendations for use with the child in the report. Results indicated that respondents tended to have a generally more positive attitude regarding the psychoeducational report over the neuropsychological report. In addition, the findings suggested that the two types of reports are perceived differently by teachers in several areas: the neuropsychological report was more likely to produce recommendations related to processing strategies, whereas the psychoeducational report tended to produce recommendations related to reading skills or physical learning environment. The psychoeducational report was more likely to produce recommendations related to counseling or therapy. The neuropsychological report was more likely to be found lacking in the area of comprehensibility, while the psychoeducational report was found lacking in terms of relevance of the information provided. The findings suggest that perhaps neuropsychological assessment techniques should be utilized when working with a child with more complex cognitive deficits than those found within a child exhibiting signs of a mild learning disability. Another possibility is using a combination of approaches when conducting a full assessment of a child, in order to utilize the strengths of each approach.