This website promotes research into cognition and the development of affirmative activities for people with a cognitive disability.
A complete list of Claudia Kay Allen's publications is available here.
The ACDMweb is currently sponsoring a research project to reduce problematic behaviors of residents within a nursing home by providing affirmative activities to keep the residents happily occupied.
Further research needs to be done around the connections between medical conditions and the ability to function. Below are some ideas Claudia had for further research.
- Medications that cross the blood-brain barrier have demonstrated both improvements and reductions in ability to function and patterns of performance. The ACLs correlate with these changes and are used as an objective measure.
- Reductions in symptoms, without improvements in ability to function, have been demonstrated by alcohol, opium and its derivatives, including pain killers, hallucinogens, and over sedation with anti-psychotics.
- Complications of over sedation with the elderly can be measured as a decline in ACL scores. This is a major reason for the recent addition of ACLs 1 and 2 on the Allen Cognitive Level Screen, 6th Edition (ACLS-6). Over sedation with anti-psychotics is causing multiple concerns and is being discontinued. Affirmative activities are the natural replacement.
- The evidence for psychotherapy and other verbal teaching methods shows improvement when confined to specific mental processes without much investigation into improving seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. The research on teaching a specific mental process adheres to identical, or very similar, activities for isolated mental processes.
- Natural healing after a recent onset explains many improvements within thirty to ninety days as swelling is reduced or toxins wash out of the brain. Most of the people served by occupational therapy in rehabilitation fit into this category. Teaching methods are probably measuring improvements that would happen anyway, without rehabilitation.
- Hand and spinal cord injuries are common with people who have a pre-existing cognitive disability.
- Brain damage from reduced oxygen explains the presence of cognitive disabilities with cardiac conditions and burns.
- Cancer survivors have brain damage secondary to the toxins of chemotherapy and radiation.
- Time of day ACL variations correlate with variations in blood oxygen levels with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
- Glucose feeds the brain and variations in glucose levels correlate with ACL variations.
Visual, auditory or movement impairments have many known mechanical adjustments that assume the use of abstract information. The equipment made for people with a cognitive disability is simpler. Because a cognitive disability is not recognized by many medical personnel, money is spent on adaptations that they do not have the ability to use. Before equipment is issued, candidates should be screened for a cognitive disability.
Cognitively disabled children are unable to use the same quality of concrete information that most children of the same age use. Puberty may be the age when the DNA stops making the normal growth and development improvements observed in children; a ceiling on ability to function may be reached at that age.
If you would like to know more, or need some help with completing your own research project, feel free to contact us.