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SCANS Program Neuropsychology Testing

What does Assessment of Neurocognitive Skills mean?

A neuropsychology evaluation includes a series of paper-and-pencil tests and activities that help St. Jude staff understand how your child thinks, learns, and behaves. The screening lasts 2.5 hours. The appointment is part of the Sickle Cell Assessment of Neurocognitive Skills (SCANS) Program.

All St. Jude patients with sickle cell disease have SCANS Program appointments every 3-4 years.

Why does your Child Need a Neurocognitive Skills (SCANS) Program Assessment?

  • Some children with sickle cell disease develop thinking, learning, and behavioral problems. This is because the disease can affect the brain.
  • Testing helps us find problems before they affect learning.
  • The staff can also follow up on any past learning problems.

How does a SCANS Assessment Help your Child?

The results help:

  • Staff learn about your child’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Staff identify ways to help with weak areas
  • Doctors and staff find out how well your child’s treatments are working
  • You and your child plan for education or work after high school
  • Doctors and staff give your child better care now
  • Your child move from St. Jude to adult medical care when turning 18
Child playing with blocks

Example of neurocognitive test being performed

How to Prepare for the Visit

Your child should have a good night of sleep, eat a good breakfast, and take medicine as usual on the day of testing. Please have your child wear their glasses or hearing aids to the appointment.

SCANS Program Appointment Location

SCANS Program visits are done in the St. Jude Psychology Clinic. The clinic is in Room BP071 on the Patient Care Center’s Plaza level.

What Happens at the Appointment

You or another parent or guardian should bring your child to the SCANS appointment.

The staff will talk with you and ask questions about your child.

Your child will do one-on-one tests and activities. These involve spoken, written, and computer-based responses. Your child will not get any shots, X-rays, or physical tests.

After the Evaluation

After the appointment, you will get your child’s test results in the mail.

A St. Jude neuropsychologist will also talk to you about the results and suggest things that could help your child. For example, it might help to set up a school plan. A St. Jude school advocacy coordinator can help you set up this plan.

A school plan might include:

  • Extra time for tests
  • A separate testing room so your child is not distracted
  • Extra help or tutoring for subjects in which your child has trouble

The neuropsychologist might also suggest other services. These could include:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Psychology appointments at St. Jude or nearby

To Learn More

If you have questions about the SCANS Program, please call 901-595-7946 or talk to your child’s St. Jude doctor or nurse.

Key Points

  • Some children with sickle cell disease develop thinking, learning, and behavioral problems.
  • The Sickle Cell Assessment of Neurocognitive Skills (SCANS) Program helps staff understand how your child thinks, learns, and behaves.
  • Testing helps us find problems before they affect learning.


Reviewed: July 2022