Communication requires the interaction between language and cognition, or the set of all mental abilities and processes related to knowledge: attention, memory, reasoning, problem solving and executive functioning. Cognition is conscious and unconscious, concrete and abstract, intuitive and conceptual. These processes are not isolated abilities and are controlled by many structures within the brain.
Cognitive skills are essential for independence, safety, personal relationships, academic success and employability. People who have cognitive linguistic deficits have often experienced a traumatic brain injury or a right-sided stroke. This may lead to difficulty in paying attention during a conversation, remembering information, staying on topic, understanding humor or following directions.
Management strategies for cognitive-communication disorders focus on retraining the brain, learning new ways of doing things and capitalizing on intact cognitive skills to achieve the highest level of independent function in daily activities. That may entail working with the family and/or caregiver to decrease disruptive communication, training a client to use a multimodal communication system (e.g., writing, gestures, sign language, picture communication) and teaching compensatory strategies.