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Neuropsychology

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When a child's thinking or behavior is impacted by neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions, life can get pretty frustrating for the child, parents, caregivers, schools–even friends. The neuropsychology team here at Cook Children's is here to help. We work with your child and family to design an individualized plan that will help your child develop their abilities and both your child and family to cope with these challenges.

Our team of neuropsychologists is highly trained and skilled in evaluating the needs of children, teens and young adults. When a child's diagnosis may affect thinking, his or her doctor will refer the child to us. We assess multiple areas of your child's cognition, such as thought, experience and the senses, in order to determine if deficits exist and what is causing the problem. Evaluations provided by our team can help you, your pediatrician, teachers and therapists assist your child in the most effective ways, based on your child's strengths and weaknesses so the he or she can achieve their full potential.

Unlocking minds. Shaping futures.

The brain controls thinking, communicating, learning, emotions and behavior, as well as everything else the body does. There are all kinds of things that can affect a child's brain activity: illnesses, genetic disorders, injuries and certain medical treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Our job is to help everyone working with your child understand his or her unique challenges. By working together as a team, we can restore as much functionality as possible and get them on the road to a brighter future.

We do this by:

  • Carefully evaluating your child's unique challenges and assets
  • Provide strategies for you and others who work with your child
  • Recommend additional services that could benefit your child
  • Working closely with your neurology team to assure the best possible progress

What is a neuropsychologist?

A pediatric neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist with expertise in how learning and behavior are connected to a child's brain structures and systems.

The pediatric neuropsychologist uses formal standardized tests of abilities such as memory and language skills to check how the brain is functioning. He or she interprets the results based on expectations of the child's age level and makes suggestions for the best care. Based upon your child's needs and diagnosis, our neuropsychologists may follow their cognitive development for several years.

We work closely with a team of neurologists and neurosurgeons to provide the best treatments and interventions that meet the individual needs of each child.

What is an evaluation?

If your child is referred to us, our team can assess your child, teen or a young adult with a primary diagnosis of a neurological disorder that is interfering with their brain's functioning. The results of our evaluation will help to determine your child's plan of care.

The tests selected for your child's evaluation will be based upon his or her diagnosis, symptoms and age and may include any or all of the following:

  • Academic skills
  • Attention span
  • Behavioral and emotional adjustment
  • Executive functioning (ability to focus, plan, organize, manage time, solve complex problems)
  • Intellectual functioning
  • Language skills
  • Memory
  • Nonverbal and visual spatial skills
  • Processing speed
  • Sensory functioning and motor skills

Who needs an evaluation?

If your child is diagnosed with a neurological disorder or injury and your doctor suspects that your child is struggling with cognitive or behavioral challenges that interfere with her or his performance or behavioral functioning, your child may be referred to us. Some of the common conditions we see are:

Working together

When it comes to your child, all of us here at Cook Children's are of one mind: helping your child have the best outcomes possible. For that reason, the neuropsychology team works with many different specialists in a wide variety of specialties and clinics. These may include, but are not limited to:

Of course, the most important part of our team is you. You know your child best and we want to ensure that you are part of the process every step of the way. We are also happy to work with your child's school and other caregivers to help make your child's treatment plan be as effective and successful as possible.

Prepare for an appointment

  • Make sure that your child gets a good night's sleep.
  • If your child wears glasses, please bring them with you.
  • If your child has had previous school testing, or has related medical records, please bring these documents with you as well.
  • Call us at 682-885-7450 if you have any questions. Our fax number is 682-885-3308.

Patient forms

Please print the new patient packet then fill out the forms and bring them with you to your first appointment. The packet also contains helpful information such as driving directions, insurance and billing information.

Resources for families, educators and caregivers

For some children, daily skills can be a real challenge. As a result, they may act out with difficult-to-manage behavior. So how can you help them change negative behaviors into positives? The following series offer tips, suggestions and exercises so you can help your child, or children in your care, learn and use new skills through practical information that reinforces positive behavior. Feel free to download them here:

Meet our team

At Cook Children's, neuropsychologists work closely with a team of neurologists and neurosurgeons to provide the best treatments and interventions that meet the individual needs of each child.

Marsha Gabriel Ph.D.Marsha Gabriel Ph.D.
Senior Neuropsychologist
Carla Morton, Ph.D.Carla Morton, Ph.D.
Neuropsychologist
Beth Colaluca Ph.D.Beth Colaluca Ph.D.
Neuropsychologist

Learn about our neuropsychologists:

Marsha Gabriel Ph.D.

Marsha Gabriel Ph.D.

Education: North Texas State University – Denton, TX (PhD in Clinical Psychology, APA-accredited program)
Georgia State University – Atlanta, GA (MEd in Community Counseling, Department of Counseling and Psychological Services)

Internship: University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center – Oklahoma City, OK ( APA-accredited program)

Licensure: Texas – Licensed Psychologist (September, 1991 – present)

Publications and Presentations:

  • Tourette Syndrome Co-Morbidities, Movement Disorders Symposium, 2011.
  • Cook Children's Participant North American Pediatric Deep Brain Stimulation Task Force, 2009 & 2010.
  • Concordance of Neuropsychological Testing with WADA, Epilepsy Symposium, August 2007.
  • Marks, W., Hernandez, A. & Gabriel, M. Epilepsy: Habilitation and Rehabilitation. Seminars in Pediatric Neurology, 10, 151-158, 2003.
  • Gabriel, M. Emotional Recovery Following Traumatic Brain Injury in Children and Teens. Presentation at the 19th annual Brain Injury Association of Texas, July, 2001.

Professional Associations:

  • American Psychological Association
  • Division 40--Neuropsychology
  • National Academy of Neuropsychology
  • Steering Committee of National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan
  • Editorial Board Intellectual Disability Diagnosis Journal

Research Trials:

  • Childhood Absence Epilepsy, sponsored by National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke.
  • Inhaled Nitric Oxide in Preterm Infants Requiring Mechanical Ventilation, sponsored by United BioSource.
  • Effectiveness of Levetiretam in epilepsy, sponsored by UCB Pharma, closed.

Licensed psychological associates:

Beth Peterson, MS, LPABeth Peterson, M.S., Licensed Psychological Associates
Smith, Michael A. MA, LPA Michael A. Smith M.A., Licensed Psychological Associates

We're here to help.

If your child has been diagnosed, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-2500.