Clinical Implications of Learned Non-use for Robotic Therapy Environments

RESNA 28th Annual Conference - Atlanta, Georgia

1,2Michelle J. Johnson, PhD, 3,4Roger O. Smith, PhD,OTR, 5Terry Walton, OTR, 2Kimberly Wisneski, 4Kathy Longenecker Rust, MS, OTR

1Medical College of Wisconsin, Depts. of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Milwaukee, WI, 53226, (414) 805-4256

2Marquette University, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Olin Engineering Center, 1515 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233

3University of Wisconsin-- Milwaukee, Dept of Occupational Therapy, Milwaukee, WI, 53201, 414-229-3226

4Rehabilitation Research Design & Disability (R 2D 2) Center, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukkee, Milwaukee, WI 53201

5Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, Neurorehabilitation Therapy, 9200 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI, 53226, (414) 805-4256


Robot therapy devices are promising tools for rehabilitating persons with impairment and disabilities due to stroke. Learned non-use may be a measure of carry-over and thus, a potential method to determine the effectiveness of robot-based training. Developing sensitive robotic device-based measures for detecting learned non-use is important. The study examined correlation between impairment and disability scores and learned non-use levels for six subjects. All subjects had learned non-use. Motor and sensory impairment plus functional disability accounted for some of the variance in the learned non-use scores but were not significantly correlated to it. We speculate that effective robot training may need to incorporate tasks that would train motor, sensory, and functional skills.

Keywords – Learned non-use, Stroke Rehabilitation, Robot Therapy.