Attention and memory in children and adolescents with traumatic brain injury



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Attention and memory were investigated in fifty-two children and adolescents at one and two years following closed-head injury. Subjects were divided into three injury severity groups (mild, moderate, and severe) based on neurological criteria. Attention and memory skills were assessed using the following battery: 1) WISC-R Digit Span, 2) Continuous Performance Task, 3) Continuous Recognition Memory, and 4) Verbal Selective Reminding Task. Subjects with more severe brain injuries had a greater degree of attention and memory impairment. Children under 13 years of age demonstrated greater impairment on the CPT when compared to adolescents. Deficits were most pronounced on tasks requiring selective attention and inhibition of responses to distracting stimuli. Attention skills made a significant contribution to overall memory performance. These results support the view that attention is a prerequisite skill for memory. There was no evidence of greater sparing of attention in younger children. Implications for new learning and development were discussed.



Brain-damaged children, Brain damage, Patients