Graduate Studies


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology, Under the Supervision of Professor Karen Hux. Lincoln, Nebraska: July 2011

Copyright 2011 Samantha W. Zickefoose


Individuals with acquired brain injuries (ABIs) frequently experience deficits within the realms of focused, sustained, alternating, and/or divided attention. Regarding treatment, several avenues exist, although few integrated programs are available. One integrated program, Lumosity (2010), is Internet-based and purports cognitive enhancement from regular engagement in games or mental exercises for people with or without ABIs. Another program, Attention Process Training (APT) (Sohlberg, Johnson, Paule, Rasking, & Mateer, 1994), was designed specifically to improve attention skills in individuals with ABI. Researchers have yet to compare programs such as Lumosity with APT in a systematic manner. Hence, the researcher’s purpose was to compare the effectiveness of remediating attention challenges of adults with severe ABI through implementation of Lumosity versus a prototype of the computerized version of APT (i.e., APT-3).

Participants were four adults with ABI. Each engaged in APT-3 exercises and Lumosity games for 30 minutes, 5 days/week, over 4 weeks for each program. Two participants performed APT-3 exercises first, and two performed Lumosity games first to control order effects; they then switched to the alternate remediation program. The researcher administered a probe measure weekly and the Test of Everyday Attention (TEA) at pre-testing, post-testing 1, and post-testing 2 to identify generalized attention improvements. Individual growth curve analyses showed all participants made significant improvements in progressing through both intervention programs. On weekly probes, one participant demonstrated significantly improved performance on 1/5 measures, two demonstrated performance approaching significance on 1 or 2/5 measures, and one showed no change. One participant also showed improved performance on some TEA subtests. Overall, findings suggest that the remediation activities were successful in improving attention skills within the context of the intervention programs; however, participants demonstrated minimal generalization of improved attending as a result of either intervention. The obtained results call into question the appropriateness of assuming either APT-3 or Lumosity will prompt generalization beyond the actual tasks performed during intervention sessions for a majority of survivors of ABI.

Adviser: Karen Hux