Attention difficulties on children after sustaining traumatic brain injury

Maria de los Angeles Davila-Feliciano (1998)

Disorders of attention are among the most frequently reported problems for children following traumatic brain injury. The statistics available in Puerto Rico are limited as opposed to its counterpart in the United States. Subsequently, there is either no sufficient data to illustrate the incidence of brain injuries on the island or the information available is not clear. Nevertheless, due to the range of difficulties experienced by these children and their families, it is important to understand and study this phenomena. The implications for treatment planning, rehabilitation and education are endless. Treatment for these children include medical follow-up, cognitive rehabilitation, psychological treatment and psycho/education. Also, there are long term effects which include the effect on the affected children and their families. A study on this topic is important in order to help in the understanding and management of this population. The present study analyzed how the Stroop Color Word Test (Golden, 1994), Spanish translation, and the Trail Making Test A and the Trail Making Test B measured and differentiated attention difficulties of a specific sample of Puerto Rican head-injured children. In order to evaluate this hypothesis, a factorial design was utilized. Two groups, head-injured (TBI) children were compared to controls matched (by age and gender) on their performance of the Stroop Color Word Test - Spanish version and the Trail Making Test A and B. The results of this study suggested that there were significant differences in the performance on the Stroop Color Word Test between this particular sample. The data showed significant differences in the P (word) subtest, the PC (Color-Word) and the PC' (Color-Word Estimate). The findings from the Trail Making Test A and Trail Making Test B showed that there are no significant differences between this particular group of head injured children and their controls. These findings have led the writer to recommend that further studies should focus on standardizing these tests in order to measure, in a responsible way, this increasing population. In particular, as evidence by the Stroop results, the difficulties in attention are present even after 18 months of post traumatic brain injury.