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A qualitative study into the experience of living with acalculia after stroke and other forms of acquired brain injury

Benn, Yael ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7482-5927, Jayes, Mark ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0371-7811, Casassus, Martin, Williams, Marney, Jenkinson, Colin, McGowan, Ellen and Conroy, Paul (2022) A qualitative study into the experience of living with acalculia after stroke and other forms of acquired brain injury. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. pp. 1-25. ISSN 0960-2011

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Abstract

Acalculia, an acquired disability following a brain injury, involves difficulty processing numerical information and/or calculations. Acalculia is not routinely screened for, and as a result there is a lack of understanding about the nature and prevalence and the impact of the condition. This qualitative study was initiated by stroke survivors with a strong interest in acalculia. Sixteen stroke/brain injury survivors with acalculia and seven carers were interviewed using semi-structured online interviews. Participants ranged in age, gender, time post-onset, country of residence and numeracy level prior to brain injury. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Three main themes were identified: Awareness and Diagnosis; Emotional and Practical Impact (independence); Support, Coping Strategies and Self-training. Participants and carers repeatedly referred to the lack of awareness and treatment for acalculia and the impact acalculia has had on their lives and independence. Practical impacts included managing money, making appointments, using timetables, organizing social activities and employment, and managing medication. Our results highlight the urgent need to develop suitable assessments and interventions for acalculia and the scope for this to be Patient, Carer and Public involvement (PCPI)-led. The data also reveal useful strategies and suggestions regarding effective timing, targets and approaches for intervention.

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