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Research Article  |   July 2009
Functional Skill Learning in Men With Traumatic Brain Injury
Author Affiliations
  • Clare G. Giuffrida, PhD, OTR/L, is Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Rush University, 600 South Paulina, Chicago, IL 60612; clare_giuffrida@rush.edu
  • Jason A. Demery, PhD, is Staff Psychologist, Neuropsychologist, Gainesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, Gainesville
  • Lisa R. Reyes, MS, was Occupational Therapy Graduate Student at Rush University, Chicago, at the time of this submission and is now Staff Occupational Therapist at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, Wheaton, IL
  • Brian K. Lebowitz, PhD, is Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology, Neuropsychologist, Department of Neurology, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Stony Brook, NY
  • Robert E. Hanlon, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, Clinical Neuropsychologist, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Neuropsychological Associates of Chicago
Article Information
Neurologic Conditions / Traumatic Brain Injury / Rehabilitation, Disability, and Participation
Research Article   |   July 2009
Functional Skill Learning in Men With Traumatic Brain Injury
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2009, Vol. 63, 398-407. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.4.398
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2009, Vol. 63, 398-407. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.4.398
Abstract

The number of people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) having persistent deficits that compromise their ability to perform everyday skills is increasing. Previous occupation-based studies indicate that computer-based skills using repetitive practice may be a viable option for retraining. We investigated the effects of different practice schedules on skill learning in 6 men with TBI. Participants with significant impairments in processing and fine motor control practiced 3 tasks using a random (n = 3) or a blocked (n = 3) ordered practice schedule. Practice occurred for 55 min/day for 13 days with retention and transfer trials taking place 2 weeks after training. Both groups showed a significant increase in performance during skill acquisition and maintained this performance. Only the random-practice group, however, was able to transfer this learning to another task. The findings provide evidence that people with TBI can improve their everyday skills with randomly structured practice.