Predicting neurological impairment with the Dean-Woodcock Sensory Motor Battery

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Volpe, Alessandra G.
Dean, Raymond S.
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Thesis (Ph. D.)
Department of Educational Psychology
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An integral part of neuropsychological assessment is the measurement of sensory-motor performance. Many studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of neuropsychological batteries to assess neurological impairment, however examination of only the sensory-motor portion of those measures has been limited. Investigations of tests of sensory and motor functions have often limited their analysis to single tests. The present study assessed the ability of the Dean-Woodcock Sensory Motor Battery (DWSMB), part of a new neuropsychological measure, the Dean-Woodcock Neuropsychological Battery (DWNB), to distinguish between normal subjects and neurologically impaired individuals as diagnosed by a neurologist. Scores from the subtests of the DWSMB from an existing data set for 250 normal and 250 neurologically impaired individuals were randomly assigned to two equal groups to allow for cross validation. Results indicated that the DWSMB was able to correctly identify 92.8% of the cases, identifying 94.4% of the normal population and 91.2% of the neurologically impaired subjects. An additional discriminant analysis was conducted to establish the accuracy of the DWSMB to identify individual diagnoses within neurologically impaired and normal subjects. The DWSMB correctly identified the following cases: 44.9% cardio-vascular accidents, 66.7% multiple sclerosis, 40% seizures, 42% traumatic brain injuries, 62.7% dementia, and 54.5% Parkinson's disease. Results indicated the usefulness of the DWSMB in identifying neurological damage and specific diagnoses in a relatively quick assessment. The utility of the DWSMB and the use of standardized administration procedures, behavioral information for evaluation, and measures of subcortical functions was discussed in light of future research. The potential use of the DWSMB in clinical and educational settings was also considered.