Pediatric Neuropsychology Service

The Pediatric Neuropsychology Service is a clinical, training, and research program within the Section of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago.

The Service provides assessment and diagnostic services for infants, toddlers, school-age children, and adolescents with neurodevelopmental, learning, emotion regulation, and medical disorders and conditions. The Service is also involved in collaborative clinical research, examining the neurocognitive and behavioral sequelae of such disorders as Epilepsy, Neurofibromatosis, Childhood Cancers and their treatment, and HIV/AIDS and its treatment.  An additional emphasis is training; graduate students in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Chicago-area graduate programs, Pritzker Medical School students, and residents and fellows in Child Psychiatry, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, and Pediatric Neurology rotate with the Service, learning about assessment and diagnosis.

Referrals for evaluation and consultation are accepted from University of Chicago physicians and clinicians, working across Comer Children’s Hospital and the broader Medical Center pediatrics clinics, as well as from pediatricians, child psychiatrists, pediatric neurologists, and other pediatric specialists across the Chicagoland area.  Additionally, school professionals, private practice clinical psychologists and clinical social workers, and other mental health and educational consultants frequently refer children and adolescents and their families to the Service. 

The Pediatric Neuropsychology Service works collaboratively with a patient’s referral source, and is available to provide support concerning rehabilitation, educational, and behavioral programming as part of a school district’s multidisciplinary case conference. 

Evaluations conducted by the Service are comprehensive and address multiple areas of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning.  The Service utilizes a flexible, empirically supported approach to assessment, in order to effectively address the referral question and patient’s concerns. Patients are administered standardized tests that assess cognitive development, with particular focus on language, motor, visuoperceptual, attention, memory and learning, and executive capabilities. Current emotional and behavioral functioning is also assessed. Interpretation of data obtained from the evaluation addresses the “whole child,” identifying areas of strength and weakness, and providing research supported recommendations for accommodation, remediation, and elaboration of skill.

Following an evaluation, referrals for recommended treatments and programming are offered to the family. These may be to University of Chicago physicians and clinicians, or to outside resources as requested or required.

Service Structure

The Pediatric Neuropsychology Service is directed by Scott J. Hunter, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, and Pediatrics at the University of Chicago. 

Dr. Hunter specializes in the evaluation and treatment of infants, children, and adolescents with medical, neurodevelopmental, and behavioral disorders.  He is nationally known for his work, both clinically and in his research, with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, brain injuries and developmental anomalies, attention and learning disorders, Intellectual Disability syndromes, Pediatric Movement Disorders, Epilepsy, Cancer, Neurofibromatosis and other neurocutaneous disorders, and HIV/AIDS. Dr. Hunter’s particular expertise is in identifying and remediating learning and developmental disorders, and he is retained as an expert by many school districts, private schools, and regional and national law firms to provide consultation and support regarding these issues.

Megan Scott, Ph.D. is a pediatric neuropsychologist with the Service and works in tandem with Dr. Hunter and in her own clinics to address the needs of children and adolescents with medical, neurodevelopmental, and behavioral disorders.  Dr. Scott is the co-director of the Section of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Neurodevelopmental Disorders Clinic, where she works closely with child psychiatry faculty, fellows, trainees, and other providers to address the needs of children with complex genetic and Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Dr. Scott is also expert in addressing concerns regarding cognitive and behavioral development in individuals born premature and low birth weight, and in children with diabetes and cancer, and she conducts research in these areas.

The Service is staffed by Ryan Martin, M.A., a psychometrist who principally assists Dr. Scott, and Paola Mascia, Ph.D., a psychometrist who principally assists Dr. Hunter. Ryan and Paola are the key people charged with running the day to day needs of the Service and supporting evaluations conducted during weekly clinics. Ryan and Paola are most often the “first-line” contact parents and referral sources have with the Service, and they work to ensure that the appointment scheduling, evaluation, and clinical follow-up flow smoothly. They both serve as research assistants for the Service, coordinating ongoing studies. 

Because the Pediatric Neuropsychology Service is part of the University of Chicago’s Pritzker Medical School and Biological Sciences Division, it is a teaching service. As such, it is important to recognize that, on a yearly and rotating basis, advanced graduate students in Clinical Child Psychology and Pediatric Neuropsychology, predoctoral Clinical Psychology Interns, Postdoctoral Fellows in Pediatric Neuropsychology, and advanced fellows and residents in Psychiatry, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology, and other specialties serve as part of the clinical team. Patients evaluated by the Service will be seen by Dr. Hunter or Dr. Scott; a member of the team of clinician trainees; and one of the psychometrists, working together in the weekly clinics. The Service utilizes a technician model: testing of patients is done by the psychometrist and the graduate student trainees, who serve as technicians, under the direct supervision of Dr. Hunter and Dr. Scott.


Clinical research is an integral component of the day-to-day practice of the Pediatric Neuropsychology Service. Patients are often requested to participate in neuropsychological evaluation as part of ongoing clinical research studies at Comer Children’s Hospital; as such, a child may be referred by the pediatric specialist to the Service as part of his or her participation in a treatment study. Additionally, a number of patients seen by the service are identified as potential research subjects for ongoing projects; a parent and child may be asked to consider participating in research at the time of the evaluation.  While participation in a research study may be discussed with you when appropriate, and is well appreciated, it is not expected or required in order to receive services.

A series of studies are often underway with the Service, and include doctoral dissertation research being conducted by Service graduate student trainees. Recent dissertations conducted with the Service include an examination of the relationship between executive function development and risk for disruptive behavior disorders in homeless youth; differential patterns of executive dysfunction and inattention in children with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and comorbid ADHD and ASD; the relationship between executive function and seizure type and treatment in children with epilepsy; an evaluation of the predictive validity of a set of parent questionnaires for children with complex neurodevelopmental disorders; and the diagnostic validity of a screening battery developed for assessing reading disorders.

Scheduling a Clinical Appointment:

Patients are evaluated by the Pediatric Neuropsychology Service by appointment only. To schedule an appointment for your child to be evaluated by the Pediatric Neuropsychology Service, please contact our INTAKE OFFICE at 773-702-3858.

Direct physician or school system referrals can be made to the service, but a parent or legal guardian must schedule the appointment. Insurance coverage will be verified before an appointment can be offered, unless the evaluation is to be paid “out of pocket.” The intake coordinator can assist with this process.

The Pediatric Neuropsychology Service sees patients in our weekly clinics, held typically on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM. The intake coordinator will inform you when an appointment opening is available, and will assist you in registering for that appointment.  We require that all appointments be re-verified within 48 hours of their scheduled dateCancellations must be made at a minimum of 24 hours in advance or a cancellation charge will incur.

Children younger than 12 years of age are typically scheduled for two separate “half-day” (3 hour) appointments, held one week apart.  Children aged 12 and older are seen for one “full day” (6-7 hour) appointment, with a lunch break.  A parent or legal guardian must accompany the child to the appointment. The parent/guardian will be interviewed during the first hour of the appointment.  Results are provided in a feedback session, held typically two weeks after the initial appointment. This will be scheduled at the completion of the evaluation.  A written report is then provided, discussing the results, diagnostic impressions, and recommendations; this is typically made available one-month following completion of the evaluation.

All evaluations are conducted by the Pediatric Neuropsychology Service in the Section of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, at the University of Chicago Medicine, which is located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, approximately five miles south of the downtown “Loop.”  UCM is easily accessible by car or public transportation. Parking is available at the UCM for a fee.

Who is who in the Pediatric Neuropsychology Service

  • Scott J. Hunter, Ph.D., Director
  • Megan Scott, Ph.D., Pediatric Neuropsychologist
  • Ryan Martin, M.A., Neuropsychology Technician
  • Paola Mascia, Ph.D., Neuropsychology Technician