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Research Article  |   January 2001
Training To Improve Awareness of Disabilities in Clients With Unilateral Neglect
Author Affiliations
  • Kerstin Tham, PhD, OT, is Assistant Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Occupational Therapy and Elderly Research, Division for Occupational Therapy, Retzius väg 13 A, S-171 77, Stockholm, Sweden; Kerstin.Tham@neurotec.ki.se
  • Elisabeth Ginsburg, OT, is Head of the Department of Occupational Therapy, Ersta Hospital, Ersta Neurological Rehabilitation Clinic, Erstagards Clinic, Nacka, Sweden
  • Anne G. Fisher, ScD, OTR, is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Applied Human Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Richard Tegnér, PhD, MD, is Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division for Neurology, Stockholm, Sweden
Article Information
Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Stroke
Research Article   |   January 2001
Training To Improve Awareness of Disabilities in Clients With Unilateral Neglect
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2001, Vol. 55, 46-54. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.1.46
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2001, Vol. 55, 46-54. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.1.46
Abstract

Objective.Awareness of disabilities is known to be a central problem of rehabilitation among clients with large right cerebrovascular lesions and unilateral neglect. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of an intervention program focused on improving the awareness of disabilities in four participants with unilateral neglect. The intervention program developed for this study was based on the assumption that awareness of disabilities is a prerequisite for being able to learn and use compensatory techniques in the performance of activities of daily living (ADL).

Method.The study followed a single-case experimental ABA design. The Assessment of Awareness of Disability was used to measure awareness of disabilities; the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills was used to measure ADL ability; and neuropsychological tests were used to assess unilateral neglect and sustained attention. The intervention program used meaningful and purposeful occupations as therapeutic change agents to improve awareness of disabilities.

Results.Awareness of disabilities and ADL ability improved in all four participants; unilateral neglect decreased in three participants; and sustained attention improved in two participants.

Conclusion.The preliminary findings indicate that training to improve awareness of disabilities might improve the ability to learn the use of compensatory techniques in the performance of ADL in clients with unilateral neglect. The effects of the intervention strategy need to be evaluated further in future research.