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Cognitive-communicative

disorders

W h a t

a r e

c o g n i t i v e - c o m m u n i c a t i v e

d i s o r d e r s ?

The term “cognitive-communicative disorder” is quite broad and refers to a range of restrictions to cognition and language resulting from damage to or deterioration of regions of the brain that govern cognition. Restrictions may be noticed in some combination of an individual’s declining ability to maintain sustained attention, lapses in memory, a reduced verbal reasoning and problem solving skills, or impaired executive functioning such as goal setting, initiation and planning. These disorders can impact the accuracy, efficiency and effectiveness in communication.

Causes of cognitive-communicative disorders include, but are not limited to:

Stroke

Traumatic Brain Injury

Aging

Brain Tumors

Neurological Disorders and Disease

Birth defects

Medication Effect

Alcohol and/or Drug Abuse

R I G H T

H E M I S P H E R E

I n j u r y

Though the right hemisphere is not the “language dominant” side of the brain for most people, individuals who suffer damage to the right hemisphere, such as a right cerebral vascular accident, may experience deficits that negatively impact their communicative abilities. Examples include:

Visual Field Neglect and Visual/Perceptual Disorders;

Inattention and Impulsivity;

Inability to use or understand prosody (intonation) changes that express emotion, sarcasm, humor;

Difficulty using and understanding contextual cues;

Difficulty using and understanding figurative language;

Inability to differentiate necessary and irrelevant information

Treatments for such disorders vary based on the underlying cause and will be based on the type and severity of the disorder. In some cases, as the body heals, rehabilitation is possible. In other cases, training in compensato- ry strategies can be provided to optimize safety and functional independence in familiar environments. Often, therapy targeting a combination of rehabilitation and implementation of compensatory strategies is most benefi- cial and successful. In order to optimize the success of strategies chosen by the therapist, is important for care- givers to be aware of and involved in the therapy choices and activities designed for a loved-one suffering from a cognitive-communicative disorder.

R E S O U R C E S

Brain Injury Association of Americahttp://www.biausa.org/

Alzheimer’s Associationhttp://www.alz.org/

American Stroke Associationhttp://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/

National Stroke Associationhttp://www.stroke.org/site/PageNavigator/HOME

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokehttp://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/ dementias/org_dementia.htm

World Stroke Organizationhttp://www.world-stroke.org/

Cog-Com

KWS

2012