A neurovocational evaluation provides for the assessment of neurocognitive, neurobehavioral and vocational aspects of individuals who have experienced a brain injury and are now having difficulties in returning to prior levels of employment. Challenges the individual experiences may present as complications within the work setting and most often within their everyday functioning.
As a psychologist with specializations as both a clinical neuropsychologist and as a vocational expert, I am in the unique position to assess individuals who have sustained traumas resulting in neurocognitive and neurobehavioral limitations. In my role as a clinical neuropsychologist, I specialize in the study of brain behavior and cognitive functioning. This addresses a number of significant areas, but most importantly, the ability to think clearly, maintain a sense of emotional stability, organize one’s thoughts and retain information in memory.
As a neuropsychologist I am also called upon to assess individuals? work related skills and traits, to utilize my knowledge of labor market demands as applied to the individual and to assess the existing work related strengths and weaknesses that individuals possess.
When an individual experiences a significant head trauma with neurocognitive and/or neurobehavioral complications, this often results in problems with regard to everyday functioning. It is not uncommon for the individual to experience difficulties with emotional regulation; in completing general routines and tasks; and with the ability to focus and process information. This contributes to problems in functioning within the work setting and carrying out normal everyday routines. Changes in personality also are often noted. Simple routines can result in a sense of confusion and frustration, compromising the completion of everyday routines at work and home. Work efficiency and productivity tends to suffer. These problems however, often extend beyond the work and home setting, thus encompassing all interpersonal relationships.
The ability to assess the nature of the limitations experienced can only be accomplished by way of a thorough neuropsychological and vocational evaluation, thus that of a neurovocational evaluation. This provides for an understanding not only of the neurocognitive and neurobehavioral restrictions the individual experiences, but how these limitations are experienced within the work related setting.
Understanding the restrictions experienced by an individual helps to validate their experience of the change in abilities and perception of a potential problem. However, the needs of the individual in this situation often extend beyond just having a recognition and understanding of there being a problem. The evaluation needs to focus on helping to clarify residual strengths and skills, while also identifying the potential for retraining. The realistic transferability of work related skills or traits from prior areas of employment become an important area of focus. The evaluation may also assist in the identification of needed supports that potentially enable the individual to continue working within the same position or field.
The injured or medically compromised individual may experience limitations in cognitive functioning that poses challenges in the ability to function within a work related setting. Cognitive as well as personality challenges that the individual may present with often times are not only noted within the work setting, but within the home and general social environment. Challenges may stem not only from personal injuries, but from other medical conditions, stem from learning disabilities, developmental delays or emotional concerns.
Only after a thorough review of background history and the comprehensive evaluation is it possible to assist the individual in planning and working towards a restoration of abilities, accommodation and an acceptance of limitations as allowed by the individual?s particular situation.