Did poorly on neuropsych tests (working memory & processing speed)

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by Marc Stanford, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. Marc Stanford

    Marc Stanford Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello my name is Marc and I am currently a student at Western Michigan University, College of Aviation majoring in Aviation Flight Science.

    I have sadly hit a major roadblock in my career which will take some time to overcome, I now have to change my major and leave COA while I sort through this issue. About last year the FAA found out that I had gotten treatment for depression and anxiety and they made me take the full battery of neuropsychological testing from a HIMS neuropsychologist.

    I didn't do well on them, ended up having to take the supplementary battery. The doctor told me I did well on the test generally but the tests also revealed I have significant deficits in working memory and processing speed.

    I was just wondering if these 2 things can be overcome or at least strengthened so the FAA will give me a 1st class medical (WMU requires this). I have done some research and there is training for working memory and processing speed.

    Tell me what you guys think, I will post more details if required. I have talked to Dr.Chien but my parents want me to wait at least 2-3 years to re-apply to the FAA for my medical ONCE I have demonstrated through therapy and psych checkups that I have overcome these issues or strengthened them.

    Can you re-apply for the 1st class medical after denial? will the FAA make me re-take the neuropsych tests again to prove that I have gotten better?
     
  2. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You wrote that you have talked to Dr Chien. No one else on here can give you any better information or advice than he has or can.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
  3. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'll echo Skydog. Nearly every else here is just going to guess and confuse you. Dr. Chien is the one who will give you the truthful story and aid you in developing a path toward success.
     
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  4. lbfjrmd

    lbfjrmd Line Up and Wait

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    You did not state the response from the FAA to your extended testing. You mentioned a HIMS AME so i assume you are proceeding with that protocol. Submit (via your HIMS AME - I am sure he knows what to do) your entire completed package. They may accept it. You will receive guidance from the FAA. There are psychologists that specialize in cog rehab. You can reapply if you flunk the 1st pass. I assume you want to fly as part of your degree pursuit. If you are older than 18 you could pursue on your own, but I suspect you want to honor you parents ... and they have the $$$. Good luck. I have had pilots that needed cog rheab ... got it and subsequently passed!
     
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  5. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Whether cog retraining would be of benefit depends on the pattern of cog. weakness, and if you are who I think you are, it wasn’t obviously so. It is as much a commitment of resources as is 8 credit hours, and at a minimum, 2 months.

    Since a heckuvalot of brain changes to processing are going to “burn in” in your next three years, I think the folks are thinking “B.A.” first and then retry. That is a “max wise” use of limited resources, particularly if you have a sib they also are struggling to fund.

    We know what the FAA will say...the HIMS neurocog specialist was unable to recommend SI and so it’s unwise to commit to the HIMS psychiatry evaluation. If the psychological aspects are not passable.....what’s the point? Besides 3 years Will help “unwind” the depression/anxiety side which does affect cognition.....so hang in there and keep the gunpowder dry.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
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  6. lbfjrmd

    lbfjrmd Line Up and Wait

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    as he is a student at Western Michigan University, College of Aviation majoring in Aviation Flight Science, i would be aggressive, but without parents participation, this appears to be a moot point!
     
  7. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    IIRC this poster is a HS senior with plans at WMU, a fine liberal arts institution with multiple opportunities....but not there yet.....soon.
     
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  8. Marc Stanford

    Marc Stanford Filing Flight Plan

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    Ok guys so I got word from my AME and the FAA that they believe I am developing Schizophrenia (no diagnosis) and that my application will be a denial for now. So I went to my psychiatrist and gave him the test results and he disagrees with it saying that the ink blot stuff I answered was rather a highly creative personality of mine and I struggle with social boundaries.

    The psychiatrist proved to me the schizophrenia thing is false and what I have is not serious, in fact he said I don't need to be medicated AND I don't have to see a psychiatrist anymore, but rather a therapist to help guide me with my personality traits. So the FAA over-interpreted my symptoms. A doctor who specializes in mental illness just told me there is nothing wrong.

    TLDR - FAA thinks i'm going crazy (didn't tell them my cognitive stuff is due to a learning disorder I overcame), saw a psychiatrist and he says no thats incorrect, what I have is very mild no meds need only psychotherapy.

    Now the other thing holding me back is the cognitive stuff, I struggle again with processing speed and working memory so does the cognitive rehab work for that? I have known pilots who did have to go through cognitive therapy and they were able to fly again after taking the test battery.

    One of the reasons why the FAA thinks this (schizophrenia) is sudden cognitive decline, however I have always struggled with working memory and processing speed my entire life due to a learning disorder. Now a learning disorder is not disqualifying but the symptoms it produces can be.

    So again I will have to take cognitive therapy down the road to improve my deficits, the question is did any of you guys here do that?
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  9. Marc Stanford

    Marc Stanford Filing Flight Plan

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    Yes does the cog rehab work?
     
  10. lbfjrmd

    lbfjrmd Line Up and Wait

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    cog rehab works ... sometimes retaking works as you learn to take the test. Expensive though. There are online apps that claim to be cognitive exercises. There are psychologist to offer 'cog rehab'. I have a whopping total of 1 airman that went this route and passed at 2nd go!
     
  11. Marc Stanford

    Marc Stanford Filing Flight Plan

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    The grand plan is to get therapy for the psychological and cognitive aspects and if we receive positive feedback from the therapist(s) that I have improved then we will re-petition and take the battery again, since I know the only way to convince the FAA that I am fine is to re-take those tests again.

    The day of the initial battery I only got 2 hours of sleep at a hotel close by the psych office and I barley ate breakfast, plus the fact I was super anxious. Funny thing is he said my core attention was fine (no classic ADHD) and my lack of sleep should not have impacted the results. However I believe the lack of sleep and the anxiety is what really got me.
     
  12. lbfjrmd

    lbfjrmd Line Up and Wait

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    no sleep, no food, anxious ... never fly in such conditions!
     
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  13. Marc Stanford

    Marc Stanford Filing Flight Plan

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    Yes I should've rescheduled the tests, I would have had a much better chance then and probably would have passed. Would have been flying by now instead of being in this situation.

    Well at least I know all I have to do to re-petition in the future is to retake the test battery again and to have updated psych reports from my psychiatrist and my therapist for the cog issues.

    I really do hope I have a chance, I know a few kids who went though similar issues ADHD meds, alcoholism, etc and they all got their medicals back after 1-3 years.

    This is still something I want to do and I will achieve it at all costs, right now I will have to change my major from Flight Science probably to University Studies or general Psychology. Ever since I have been in this process it has gotten me curious about how the brain and mind works.