Screening for difficulties in general intellectual functioning and academic attainment in children with sickle cell disease and epilepsy
thesisposted on 03.12.2013, 16:53 by Helen Matthews
Sickle Cell Disease and Epilepsy are childhood chronic diseases that are prominently seen in neuropsychological services. Although different in aetiology and symptomology, they share many similarities in associated difficulties in physical, psychosocial and cognitive functioning. Literature Review: A systematic review of the literature investigating the relationship between family factors and psychosocial outcomes of children with SCD was conducted and is presented. The quality of the research articles included in the review was assessed using a standard appraisal tool. The review concludes a number of family variables appear to be associated with psychosocial outcome of children with SCD. Clinical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed. Research Report: The study examined the feasibility of a screening tool predictive of general intellectual functioning and academic attainment in children with SCD and epilepsy. Neuropsychological assessment scores were obtained from an acute teaching trust who had administered them via routine clinical practice. A stepwise multiple linear regression and comparisons between high and low scoring children were utilised to generate a model for the predictive screening tool. The screening tool which emerged consisted of the WISC-IV subtests ‘block design’, ‘coding’ and ‘digit span’ with the addition of ‘vocabulary’ for children with epilepsy and ‘similarities’ for children with SCD being predictive of intellectual functioning. ‘vocabulary’ and ‘digit span’ were predictive of academic attainment. The study also examined the association of difficulties on a parent completed questionnaire with problems identified on a neuropsychological assessment measuring attentional abilities. A cross-tabular analysis revealed no significant association. Clinical implications, recommendations and limitations of the research are discussed. A critical appraisal of the research is also presented.