What is cognition?

 Brain injury impacts on cognition

Brain injury impacts on cognition

We don't give much thought to cognition normally do we? (No pun intended) We rely heavily on this quality as humans and certainly any disruption to it's processes is a real problem. Cognition works as a vital "interface" between the brain and its environment, directing the mental processes involved in gaining knowledge and understanding. These processes, including those of attention, perception, awareness, memory, action planning, and reasoning are all essential for completing everyday activities. Loss of one or more of these functions may affect a persons’ quality of life following any type of brain injury.

The effects of brain damage, whether caused by stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), tumours, or multiple sclerosis, have both a physical and mental impact.  Concussion too, which can seem quite innocuous, has the potential to produce both cognitive and physical effects.

These impairments vary widely from person to person and depend on many factors, including an individual‘spersonality and the severity of the brain damage.

Clients often experience difficulty with concentration and sometimes develop speech disorders. They may also experience difficulty recognising or naming objects or persons. Frequently, spatial orientation and memory are also affected. Changes in personality may occur as well.

Different diagnostic measures are used depending on the severity and the type of brain damage. Clients may undergo physical, occupational and speech therapy as well as neuropsychological therapy, which includes cognitive therapy.

The aim of cognitive rehabilitation is to minimize the damage, to regain lost skills through training, to develop compensation strategies, and to help the client to progress to the most independent level of functioning possible. Intact functions should be trained first because success leads to better self-confidence. After that, affected functions can be trained specifically by using clear and explicit instructions.  RehaCom is a tool designed to help therapists retrain specific aspects of cognition in brain injured persons. As we say frequently, RehaCom is not the answer to cognitive rehabilitation but it is a great enabler of rehabilitation in the hands of a skilled therapist.