What is a Cognitive Communication Disorder?

Cognition is our ability to think. It allows us to remember old and new information, pay attention, reason and make judgments, make plans, stay organized, and use appropriate social rules. Difficulty with any of these areas could suggest a Cognitive Communication Disorder. Difficulties in these areas can affect speaking, listening, writing, and/or reading.  

What causes a Cognitive Communication Disorder? 

Cognitive Communication Disorders may be present at birth due to genetics or abnormalities that may have occurred when the brain was developing. Cognitive Communication Disorders can also occur later in life. Common causes of changes in cognition include stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and/or dementia.  

What are the symptoms of a Cognitive Communication Disorder? 

Cognitive Communication Disorders vary greatly depending on the person, the cause, and the severity. The following are some examples of symptoms of Cognitive Communication disorders: 

  • Memory: They may have difficulty remembering new information or information about their past. 
  • Attention: They may not be able to focus on one task or activity for very long and gets easily distracted. They may not be able to finish a project or conversation or have difficulty multi-tasking. 
  • Planning and Organization: They may have difficulty with planning daily activities or completing tasks that involve multiple steps such as cooking or laundry. They may have difficulty telling a story in the right order. 
  • Reasoning: They may have difficulty with concepts of time, money, and abstract information. They may not recognize a problem or know how to solve problems.  
  • Social: They may have difficulty self-monitoring their behavior and may not understand the consequences of their behavior. They may not understand jokes, facial expressions or body language. 

Speech therapy is recommended if any of the above symptoms are affecting daily life in the home, school, or work place.  

What does therapy for Cognitive Communication Disorders involve? 

Therapy for cognition is highly dependent on the individual and his/her needs. Speech therapy can focus on all the above symptoms of a Cognitive Communication Disorder. Therapy involves working on tasks that directly target the areas that are causing difficulties for that patient. Therapy also includes coming up with strategies to compensate for cognitive difficulties when completing daily home activities, school and homework, and job-related tasks.