Youth with epilepsy exhibit significant deficits in executive functioning (EF), yet there are few interventions to improve EF for adolescents. The aims of the current study were to develop an individually-tailored intervention, called Epilepsy Journey, to improve aspects of EF through an iterative, patient-centered process including focus groups and usability testing.
Five adolescents and caregivers participated in focus groups. This input was used to develop ten learning modules based on subscales of the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Functions and key issues that may impact EF in adolescents. Six adolescents participated in usability testing and a usability expert conducted a heuristic evaluation. Demographic information, chart reviews and measures of EF were also completed.
Focus group participants and their parents reported difficulties with memory, attention, organization, monitoring, initiation, impulsivity, emotional control, sleep, awareness in schools and managing stress. They also identified successful strategies to address memory and organizational difficulties. Usability testing of the resultant Epilepsy Journey modules revealed problems with navigation and identified features that promoted usability, including progress bars and interactive modules. Program modifications were made after each usability trial resulting in a relatively brief, interactive and readily navigable program. Perceived utility was high with all but one participant. Participants rated the content as helpful and indicated they would recommend Epilepsy Journey to others.
Feedback from the focus group and usability testing yielded a feasible, acceptable, relevant and user-friendly web-based intervention for adolescents with epilepsy. The Epilepsy Journey program will be further tested in an open pilot with adolescents with epilepsy and associated EF deficits.
Avani C. Modi, Matthew Schmidt, Aimee W. Smith, Luke Turnier, Noah Glaser, & Shari L. Wade
Epilepsy & Behavior