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SCI-ISIG All Member Meeting

Date: Tuesday, 14 June

Time: 4:00 – 5:00 PM ET

Title: Neuropsychologists on interdisciplinary rehabilitation teams: Evaluating the role of cognition in functional assessments for SCI 

Dr. Amanda Wisinger

Amanda Wisinger, M.S., is a graduate student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Chicago Campus. She recently completed a rehabilitation psychology practicum at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital on the Spinal Cord Injury/Disorders (SCI/D) Unit, where she conducted both inpatient and outpatient psychotherapy and brief, targeted cognitive assessments with Veterans living with SCI/D. This summer, she will start her clinical psychology internship on the Neuropsychology track at the University of Florida Health Science Center, where she will receive specialized training in neurorehabilitation and polytrauma at UF Health Rehabilitation Hospital. Broadly, Amanda’s research interests include cognitive rehabilitation, neuroplasticity, acquired injuries (i.e., TBI, SCI), and understanding the cognitive and affective changes due to neurodegenerative diseases. Her career goals include board certification in both clinical neuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology and providing both assessment and therapy services to medically and neurologically complex adult patients.  

Abstract: The neuropsychologist is an especially valuable member of the integrated care team in the assessment and management of patients in rehabilitation settings given their training and background in brain-behavior relationships and the connections between the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional problems that may arise from known or suspected brain dysfunction. Given the significant physical limitations that people with SCI experience, the focus of their rehabilitative therapies tend to focus primarily on their physical functioning rather than their cognitive functioning. Research has documented that people with SCI are at greater risk of experiencing cognitive deficits, and comprehensive neuropsychological testing can help identify any cognitive dysfunction that is co-occurring with physical dysfunction and can ultimately maximize rehabilitation outcomes. However, there is a lack of standardized cognitive assessments designed for use specifically with this population. Further, few studies have been published assessing the role of cognition in functional assessment of patients post-SCI, and those reviewed suggest that current functional measures with cognitive components have limited ecological validity. This can ultimately result in a lack of convergence among one’s cognitive status, motor limitations, and ability to function independently post-discharge. This lack of inclusion of cognition in functional assessment presents challenges for rehabilitation psychologists and neuropsychologists in making accurate diagnoses and treatment plans while working with patients with new onset cognitive difficulties, particularly within the context of physical disability such as SCI. This presentation will highlight the role that neuropsychologists serve on an interdisciplinary rehabilitation team and underscore the paucity of literature that exists in regard to how to assess cognition in a population with physical disability.

Meeting Agenda

      1. Meeting host: agenda reviewed by chair
      2. Welcome and introductions
      3. Who are we?
      4. Mission and History
      5. TF chairs
      6. Membership Initiatives
      7. ACRM 2022 Annual Meeting
      8. Q&A with Executive Committee and TF Chairs