Utility of ImPACT with Deaf Adolescents

J Int Neuropsychol Soc -


Welsh, J., P. Schatz and J. Reesman.



Objective: The present study examined the utility of the Immediate and Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT test) for use with deaf student athletes at baseline. There has been no research to date on whether or not the ImPACT test may be an appropriate and accessible tool for use with this population. Participants and Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of 116 de-identified student-athlete baseline ImPACT data files from a residential school for the deaf (N=80 male). Eight data files were excluded for analysis due to being flagged as potentially invalid. Composite scores, symptom report and raw scores were examined for the group as a whole and compared to a hearing normative baseline dataset. Results: Total Symptom ratings in the deaf males were significantly higher than a comparison group of high school males from the ImPACT normative dataset (p=0.19), though no significant differences were noted in the female ratings. Total symptom ratings for males and females respectively (M=8.11; 11.31). Mean composite scores for males and females, respectively; Verbal Memory Composite (81.95, 80.28), Visual Memory Composite (70.48, 69.69), Visual Motor Composite (30.31, 33.92), Reaction Time Composite (.98, .89) and Impulse Control Composite (6.64, 7.08). On the Three Letter task, we noted a possible marker of task misunderstanding, indicated by 0-3 average items clicked correctly by 12.1% of the deaf sample. In a comparison baseline sample of 17,359 hearing peers this occurrence was noted in 54 individuals (0.31%). Conclusions: Symptom report may be higher in deaf males compared to hearing peers. Overall, scores as a group may fall lower than hearing peers, even when compared to those in special education. Present data indicate that deaf adolescents may be at increased risk for misunderstanding instructions, though this pattern of performance may not result in the baseline being flagged as invalid, though the individual clinician is encouraged to examine the raw scores for signs of task misunderstanding.

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