Cognitive-Linguistic Impairments

A cognitive-linguistic impairment can often result from a right brain injury.  This does not directly affect the language area of the brain, but can affect attention, memory, problem solving and interpretive language, which in turn affect communicative abilities.  Evaluation of cognitive-linguistic impairments involves tasks of short-term and long-term memory, divided, sustained, and selective attention, social language skills, and abstract reasoning. 

Therapy focuses on developing functional cognitive-linguistic skills for a person’s daily needs.  For example, to improve attention, the individual may be asked to listen to the news on the radio and paraphrase the information.  Improving memory skills can include posting schedules and/or signs around a room. A pragmatic task may involve practicing turn taking within a game, or conversational exchange.   

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is left-sided neglect?
A person with right brain injury may have a  left-sided neglect and will not attend to the left side of their visual field.  This may result in a person being unaware of food on the left half of their plate, unaware of people on the left side of them, and in extreme cases, unaware of the presence of their left arm.  A person with left-sided neglect may need assistance with spatial awareness tasks such as reading, walking and eating due to this cognitive-visual deficit.

Q: What is the difference between Aphasia and Cognitive-Linguistic Impairments?
Aphasia affects the language centers located on the left side of the brain, where Cognitive-Linguistic Impairments often affect the right hemisphere.  Total communication involves both sides of the brain working together to formulate the expression and understanding of speech and language. If the left hemisphere is affected, the patient may have difficulty finding the word they want to use (Aphasia).  If the right hemisphere is affected, the patient may seem socially inappropriate, or uninterested in conversation (Cognitive-Linguistic Impairments).