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Cognitive Impairments: Executive Function

presented by Karen L. McCulloch, PhD, PT, MS, NCS(E), FAPTA, FACRM

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Karen McCulloch receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Nonfinancial:  Karen McCulloch has no competing nonfinancial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

Accreditation Check:

Part of a multiple-part series of courses on cognitive impairments seen in neurologic conditions, the purpose of this course is to review issues relevant to physical therapists related to executive function and self-awareness. Although these cognitive functions are not the direct focus of physical rehabilitation, therapists should be knowledgeable about the effects of executive dysfunction and impaired self-awareness as they relate to safety and prognosis.

Meet Your Instructor

Karen L. McCulloch, PhD, PT, MS, NCS(E), FAPTA, FACRM

Karen L. McCulloch is a professor in physical therapy in the Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Health Sciences, School of Medicine at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she has taught entry-level and advanced-level students in neurorehabilitation since 1993. She has served in multiple roles within the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy,…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Executive Function Definition, Assessment, and Observation

This chapter answers the question, "What is executive function?" Components of the brain involved in executive function are covered, highlighting the prefrontal cortex as a critical structure. Neurologic disorders and injuries that commonly demonstrate executive function deficits will be discussed.

2. Intervention for Impairments in Executive Function

Many executive function tests are administered by neuropsychologists or speech pathologists; however, these office-based tabletop or computer tests may not reflect "real-life" function clearly. This chapter covers different assessments used during executive function intervention and how a therapist can observe behaviors in their patient.

3. Self-Awareness

This chapter answers the question, "What is self-awareness?" Its influence on motivation and participation in therapy is discussed, as well as how it plays into the patient's safety and ability to be independent. Common self-awareness deficits and agnosias that may be present after a neurologic injury/damage are covered. Also described are screening and standardized measures for identifying executive function or self-awareness deficits.

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