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Can School Age Children Use a Paging System to Reduce Everyday Memory and Planning Problems?
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 12(S2): 20
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Memory and organisational problems are frequently reported in children who have sustained a traumatic brain injury or who have a developmental disorder such as dyspraxia or dyslexia. We recently demonstrated (Wilson, Emslie, Quirk, & Evans, 2001; Wilson, Emslie, Quirk, Evans, & Watson, 2005) that a paging system could reduce everyday memory and planning problems for people with non-progressive brain injury. Among the 143 patients in the 2001 study were 12 school-aged children (age range 8-16 years). Their results are reported here. In a randomised control crossover design 4 children were randomly allocated to group A and 8 to group B. Children chose their own tasks for which they needed reminders. These ranged from prompts to go to the toilet to remembering to take lunchbox or PE kit. During the 2-week baseline group A achieved 69.75% of tasks and group B 43.37%. Group A then received a pager for 7 weeks. During the last two weeks of this period group A now achieved 92.5% of tasks and group B (on the waiting list) 39.25%. Group A then returned their pagers and group B received pagers. During the last two weeks of this stage children in group A dropped back slightly but were still significantly better than during baseline (81.5%). Group B, meanwhile, were now achieving 80.12% of tasks, significantly better than during baseline. We discuss how this paging system can be used to reduce everyday memory and organisational problems of schoolaged children.