Individuals being assessed, both children and adults, are encouraged to bring a water bottle that has a secure top. Additionally, an easy, mess-free snack is welcome, especially for children who are used to having a snack at school during the testing time frame. Cheetos and other orange-colored or messy snacks are prohibited for the protection of the testing materials.
The following FAQs will provide you with answers to the many questions you might have about an assessment at BrainWorks. The information will also help you feel prepared for your first appointment.
What is Jennifer's background?
Should I arrive early for my appointment?
Do I need a referral?
The majority of parents choose to leave the office during their child's testing sessions since the sessions are lengthy. If you do not live or work nearby, there are a number of places to go such as Ridgedale Center, Target, Caribou Coffee, Hennepin County Library, Barnes & Noble, Lunds & Byerlys, Trader Joes, Michael's Crafts, Goodwill, Toys R Us, Once Upon a Child, Dick's Sporting Goods, and a variety of restaurants.
Parents are welcome to stay in the waiting area while their child is testing. It's a good idea to bring a book, computer, or other project to keep you occupied while waiting. Wifi is available.
Parents are not permitted to be in the testing room with their child during the testing, as children's behavior and performance tend to change when they are aware they are being observed.
Jennifer Bennett, M.S., is a Licensed Psychologist who focuses her work on neuropsychological and educational assessment. She conducts comprehensive diagnostic evaluations with people from age 5 to 100 who are experiencing difficulties related to learning, attention, information processing, and cognitive development. Jennifer's areas of expertise include learning disabilities (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and nonverbal LD), attention deficit disorders (ADHD with and without hyperactivity/impulsivity), auditory processing difficulties, autism spectrum disorders, and other neuropsychological difficulties that affect thinking, learning, and communication.
Outside of BrainWorks, Jennifer spent several years on the Board of Directors for the International Dyslexia Association - Upper Midwest Branch (IDA-UMB), where she served as Secretary as well as Chair for the Information & Referral and Conference committees. Now, she is honored to be a member of the IDA-UMB Advisory Board. Jennifer also works with the admissions team at The Blake School, doing admissions testing for applicants in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade. Additionally, she has presented at conferences and in webinars on the topics of assessment, learning disabilities, and ADHD. She has served as an Expert Witness in a court trial as well (but is not taking on any new legal/forensics cases).
Jennifer attended Gustavus Adolphus College for her undergraduate studies and then moved on to North Dakota State University, where she earned a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology. Since obtaining her professional psychology license in 1995, she has provided neuropsychological and psychological assessment services at the University of Minnesota Medical School & Hospital (in the Departments of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Adult Psychiatry, both inpatient and outpatient settings), Pediatric & Family Psychology Center, Learning & Language Specialists, and now at her own private practice, BrainWorks.
Jennifer lives near BrainWorks with her family; she has a husband, 2 young-adult-aged children, 2 dogs, and 2 cats. She is involved in her church, and enjoys crafting, reading, and playing sudoku.
Do I stay at BrainWorks during my child's testing?
BrainWorks does not require a referral from a primary care physician or any other source. If you believe neuropsychological assessment would be helpful for you or your child, you are welcome to make an appointment.
Please bring the following information, if applicable, to the first session or send it ahead of time:
Additionally, some parents and adult clients find it helpful to think about their concerns and history ahead of time, and bring written notes with important details they want to be sure to remember during the initial interview.
Arriving anywhere from 5 minutes early to on-time is fine. The initial paperwork is minimal and requires only a few minutes to complete.
Please do not arrive late for appointments, as they are scheduled according to the typical time needed for the testing being done. If you arrive more than 10 minutes late, it is possible another session will need to be scheduled to make up the testing time. While you will not necessarily be charged an additional fee for the extra appointment, it will likely mean that you will get your assessment results later than initially planned.
Are there breaks during testing?
Will you talk to my child's teacher?
Breaks are individualized based upon the test-taker's needs. Some children need breaks to rest their brains from testing, move their bodies, and play in the waiting area for a short time. Others need a quick break to move around and stretch their muscles. Adolescents and adults rarely need breaks, but they will usually be offered anyway.
Are foods and drinks allowed?
In most cases, especially for students in elementary and middle school, teachers will be asked to complete behavior rating scales as a means of providing their input. A phone call with a teacher is rare. Parents are welcome to ask their child's teacher to email a list of concerns and observations; while this is not necessary, it is often very helpful.
In terms of the teacher rating scales, it is common practice for the teacher to send the completed questionnaires directly to BrainWorks. Results of the teacher rating scales will be included in the neuropsychological assessment report.
What should I bring?
Should I take my ADHD medication when I come for testing?
If you take a stimulant medication for ADHD, one testing session will be conducted on your medication and another will be conducted off your medication. Please inform Jennifer prior to your appointment that you are on ADHD medication and she will give you specific instructions for taking or not taking your medication.