INTRODUCTION TO ALLEN COGNITIVE LEVELS

Research into how the brain works, has led scientists into discovering that when a new task is performed repeatedly it eventually becomes a habit, therefore "much of our normal behavior depends on learning to perform entire action sequences so smoothly that we carry them out almost without conscious thought or effort" - Graybiel (2002) Also, research scientists have observed that overall brain activity decreases during the time it takes to do repetitive tasks, and increases at the beginning and end of doing a novel task or activity.

New learning involves whole brain activity and for the brain to hold an image of what is occurring, whilst working out the next step in the process of learning, will cause the whole brain to become alight with energy effort. It became clear to researchers (such as Raichle, 1998; Karni, 2001; Passingham, 1998 and Haier, 1992; who are involved in skill learning experiments) that paying focal, effortful attention to doing a new task, or listening intently to new information, calls the whole brain into action. The brain does not behave like a collection of isolated pathways, each doing their own thing, but as one coherent, comprehensive and coordinated system.

Unfortunately whole brain activity, or the global ability to function, is not totally possible for people with deficits in functional cognition (cognitive disabilities), therefore the innate ability to rapidly download "bright" awareness that McCrone, 1999 stated, "seems to be the real key to the brain's enormous processing abilities" has for whatever reason been prevented from occurring. The Allen's Cognitive Levels describe the possible degrees of whole brain activity and the activity that can be expected at each level.mode.

These books are about the human brain and how it plans and organizes everyday life activities, when deficits in functional cognition are evident.

• How the brain works as a total unit and "lights up" when learning how to do something new including what happens when there is a cognitive deficit;

• How people with deficits in functional cognition make sense of their environment;

• What caregivers need to do to assist their family member with deficits in functional cognition;

• How healthcare clinicians can develop a greater understanding of why so many people they are assisting "cannot do what the say they can do," what needs to be changed in their environment to make it safer and more secure, at the same time allowing people with cognitive disability to live life to their "best ability to function."

The following books, written by Delaune Pollard, an Australian Occupational Therapist; trained in the USA as an Allen Expert Cognitive Advisor, will provide guidance in learning how to apply Allen Cognitive Levels functions in your workplace.

REVISED BOOK!
How to Begin Using the Allen’s Cognitive Levels, 2nd Edition

This book is written for the benefit of all healthcare clinicians no matter what stage of clinical practice they have reached, including entry level practitioners/students. It covers a broad range of information in a concise manner. The experienced clinician will find this book a valuable training resource.

When working with people with deficits in functional cognition it is crucial to have an appreciation of the underlying cognitive processes, which determine how people can do daily life activities. Following assessment and clinical observation of how a client/patient/resident does daily activities, contextual factors can be gathered and blended to form a unique word picture and contribute to a comprehensive report. Recommendations for environmental changes can then be made and suitable programs developed. The World Health Organization ‘International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health’ and the abbreviated ‘ICF’ (WHO 2001) provide a framework allowing the blending and application of all components in a practical manner to produce positive outcomes. The use of an adapted ICF framework for developing a care plan gives care providers a wealth of knowledge, as to what type of and how much assistance is required for each person on a daily basis.

By using the information from this clinical book in conjunction with other related publications, healthcare clinicians will eventually accumulate sufficient know how to be able to apply the model to an array of different workplace settings.

ALLEN COGNITIVE LEVELS: Meeting the Challenges of Client Focused Services, 2nd Edition

This is an easy guide for use when scanning information concerning each Allen Cognitive Level.Mode of Function. It provides information on the primary concepts and terminology, which intermesh the Allen Cognitive Levels with the Dynamic Complex Theory, giving a broader perspective and interaction between occupational and physical therapists and the ever-changing experiences of their clients.


A COGNITIVE LINK: Managing Problematic Bodily Behavior

This publication has been written for health care professionals and caregivers who need to fully understand how bodily behavior can be cognitively restricted by brain pathology and what needs to be done to allow people to function to the best of their ability. There is a fine balance between doing too much and only assisting when an action, or step, is beyond the cognitive ability of a person trying to complete a task.








EMPOWERING CAREGIVERS: Relevant Lifestyle Profile, 2nd Edition

This clinical book focuses on 'Functional Cognition' and the development of the cognitive levels, which have been at the core of the working life of Claudia Kay Allen. This book is comprised of 98 pages and has a CD with three data gathering forms and three sets of five forms to be used for scoring for use by healthcare clinicians. The data gathering tool ‘Advanced Lifestyle Directive’ is intended to gather personal factors that contribute to the formation of the 'word story.' The other two data gathering tools, ‘Brief Daily Life Activities Pre-Guide Checklist’ and the more substantial 'Daily Life Activities Guide,' are designed to allow primary caregivers to play a role in providing information gathered from watching, noting and/or asking the person with cognitive disability what they are attempting to do. The healthcare clinicians report forms including the Brief Daily Life Activity (DLA) Pre-Guide and the five individual Daily Life Activities Guide - Caregiver Generated Relevant Profiles have been developed to slot into personal files of people with deficits in functional cognition.