An Overview of Approaches for Managing Attention Impairments The pervasive and permanent disabilities resulting from attention impairments render this cognitive domain a critical rehabilitation priority. Individuals along the entire spectrum from mild to severe brain injury report long-term dysfunction caused by persistent attention impairments (Brooks & McKinlay, 1987; Mateer, Sohlberg & Crinean, 1987). Subjective client complaints include reduced ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2002
An Overview of Approaches for Managing Attention Impairments
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • McKay Moore Sohlberg
    Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences, University of Oregon, Eugene
Article Information
Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Articles
Article   |   October 01, 2002
An Overview of Approaches for Managing Attention Impairments
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, October 2002, Vol. 12, 4-8. doi:10.1044/nnsld12.3.4
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, October 2002, Vol. 12, 4-8. doi:10.1044/nnsld12.3.4
The pervasive and permanent disabilities resulting from attention impairments render this cognitive domain a critical rehabilitation priority. Individuals along the entire spectrum from mild to severe brain injury report long-term dysfunction caused by persistent attention impairments (Brooks & McKinlay, 1987; Mateer, Sohlberg & Crinean, 1987). Subjective client complaints include reduced speed of processing, decreased ability to maintain attention, and distractibility, in addition to impairments in the working memory processes that are responsible for temporary maintenance and mental manipulation of information (Cicerone, 2002; Mateer & Mapou, 1996).
What is the best way to categorize approaches to attention therapy? Based on an extensive review of the literature for the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences Evidence Based Practice Guidelines (ANCDS EBPG) Traumatic Brain Injury subcommittee, we classified interventions into five distinct approaches: (a) direct training of attention processes, (b) training of metacognitive strategies specific for managing attention deficits, (c) training the use of external aids to compensate for attention deficits, (d) environmental modification/task accommodation, and (e) collaboration-focused approaches. This paper seeks to familiarize readers with the range of options for managing attention. In addition, we hope the information will assist clinicians as they scrutinize the existing clinical research at a time when the field is beginning to develop practice guidelines based on experimental and clinical evidence.
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