Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Engineering (M.S.E.)

Degree Program

School of Engineering

First Advisor

Samhita Rhodes

Second Advisor

Lisa Kenyon

Third Advisor

John Farris

Academic Year



Studies have shown that self-initiated locomotion in infants and young children is paramount to developing motor skills, social skills, and visuospatial perception. Because children with multiple, severe disabilities are often not able to produce movement on their own due to limited motor control, access to a power mobility device may be vital to their overall development. This study extends data analysis from an exploratory study, and investigates the use of information theoretics in providing objective measures to characterize changes in electroencephalograms (EEG) as a result of power mobility training, and relates these changes to observed rehabilitation outcomes. Three subjects with multiple, severe disabilities participated in the 20-week study. A single subject, A-B-A-B study design was employed where each baseline (A) and intervention (B) phase lasted 5 weeks. Various conditions were included in both phases: No Interaction 1, Passive Mobility, and No Interaction 2. EEG data were collected under each condition for 5 minutes, sampled at 128 Hz. During B phases, the subject trained for 45-60 minutes with the power mobility device as well. All three subjects showed similar changes in activation in the frontoparietal recordings, likely due to the visuomotor, attention, and memory requirements of power mobility training. The emergence of a centroparietal network was also observed in one subject. Furthermore, a theta increase and alpha decrease in power for one subject may have been the result of increased alertness and anticipation, while a decrease in theta and increase in alpha power for the other subject may be associated with an increase in cognitive performance. Additionally, all subjects demonstrated rehabilitative growth that correlated well with trends seen in the EEG metrics. All three subjects also exhibited more significant change during the intervention phases compared to the baseline phases. This suggests that power mobility training may be responsible for consistent and objectively quantifiable changes in cortical activity that may be correlated with improvement in subjective measures of cognitive gains.

Included in

Engineering Commons