Lee, Nancy Raitano PHD
The proposed administrative supplement seeks to extend the parent grant’s goal of evaluating the real world correlates of executive function (an umbrella term used to describe cognitive skills that are important for self-regulation and problem solving) via the inclusion of two supplemental aims. The aims involve: 1) examining executive function links with work readiness, a complementary and continuous metric of vocational potential independent of broader and variable external factors (e.g., service provision) influencing employment for individuals with Down syndrome (DS); and 2) identifying through both quantitative and qualitative means potential confounding contextual/environmental factors that are external to the individual (e.g., parent motivation, access to transportation) and likely to modify or obscure relations between executive dysfunction and vocational outcomes. Through greater refinement of functional outcome metrics and their influences, the proposed research has increased potential to inform intervention development that improves quality of life for adults with DS.
(Relevance): The proposed research aims to test the use of a patient-friendly neuroimaging technology called functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) with children with Down syndrome to determine if it can be used to measure the efficacy of treatments aimed at improving cognition and sleep in this group. This research also seeks to understand how sleep influences brain function in children with Down syndrome and those with typical development. Thus, the proposed research has implications for informing efforts to improve health and well- being for individuals with Down syndrome and those in the general population with sleep disturbance.