Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. David L. Nelson

Second Advisor

Dr. Ellen Page-Robin

Third Advisor

Dr. Doris A. Smith

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Allen's (1985) Cognitive Disability approach provides a guideline for modifying the cognitive demands of an activity to match the abilities of an individual. Thirty older adults with a mean age of 78.1 years and a diagnosis indicating an irreversible dementia were selected for the study. A counterbalanced design was used to compare the performance of 15 individuals with a Level Three cognitive ability and 15 individuals with a Level Four cognitive ability on two tiling craft activities: one with Level Three cognitive demands and one with Level Four cognitive demands. Analysis of variance indicated a significant interaction between cognitive level and activity level (F [1,29] = 24.09, p <.001). Individuals with a Level Three cognitive ability performed significantly better on the activity with Level Three cognitive demands. For subjects with a Level Four cognitive ability, there was no significant difference in performance on the two levels of activity.