Author

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education

Major

Education, Teaching-Learning Processes

Date of Defense

12-12-2014

Graduate Advisor

Kathleen Haywood, PhD.

Committee

Dr. Lynn Beckwith

Kopetz, Patricia

Friedman, Joseph

Abstract

With stroke occurrence increasing, along with survival rate, it is imperative to find ways of treating the chronic-phase of stroke. The purpose of this study was to determine if either or both of two interventions, or their combination, could improve functional performance in patients at least four years post-stroke. One intervention was resistance strength training while the other consisted of neurodevelopmental activities that parallel those used with developing children. Six participants, four male and two female, ranging in age from 23 to 60 (M age 44.5), were randomly assigned to one of the interventions. Participants ranged in stroke types and effected areas. They were four to 17 years post stroke. Measurements were taken before, during, and after the six-month intervention using the Fugl-Meyer Test, Berg Balance Scale, Barthel Index, and Stroke Specific Quality of Life. Three-by-six repeated measures ANOVAs, and between-group comparisons, showed some statistical significance, with η2 recording scores up to 0.92. In addition, clinical significance was reached in many tests. These analyses indicated that the combined intervention group improved in more areas than the other groups. The findings are consistent with the dynamical systems theory. The use of a combined intervention mixing neurodevelopmental and proprioceptive training techniques used in education with common resistance training exercises shows promise as a means to treat the chronic phase of stroke recovery. These results suggest that a shift to continued rehabilitation programs after the acute phase of recovery and long into the chronic phase of recovery could lead to improved performance and better quality of life among stroke patients, as well as indicating there is significant room for improvement long after the initial stroke insult.

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