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Cognitive Rehabilitation

What is Cognitive Rehabilitation?

Cognitive rehabilitation services address injury-related difficulties in areas such as attention, memory, organization, visuoperception, problem-solving, self-monitoring, and self-awareness in order to maximize an individual's safety, daily functioning, independence, social participation, and quality of life.

Goals of Rehabilitation

Services can be provided in individual or group sessions that focus on progressing in a stepwise manner to achieve long-term goals. These services emphasize the following goals, as outlined by the Cognitive Rehabilitation Task Force of the Brain Injury Special Interest Group (BI-ISIG) of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM):

  • Problem orientation, awareness, and goal setting: Assisting individual with recognizing specific problem(s) that require intervention and working together to establish meaningful short- and long-term goals.
  • Compensation: Providing individual with tools to function effectively despite persisting or chronic difficulties.
  • Internalization: Increasing gradually the individual's ability to utilize the practiced strategies with a goal of making the application of these strategies more "automatic."
  • Generalization: Assisting individual with applying strategies in a wider variety of contexts to enhance everyday functioning.

Treatment Plan

Identification of targets for treatment and a treatment plan takes place through comprehensive neuropsychological assessment of an individual's cognitive strengths and limitations.

Treatment sessions are focused on assisting an individual with acquisition, application, and adaptation of strategies to maximize functioning.

Strategies employed may include both external and internal approaches.

External Strategies

External strategies are those external to the individual, including such devices as a memory notebook, electronic devices, or other task-specific aids.

Internal Strategies

Internal strategies involve learning to self-cue with an image, work, or action sequence that will help initiate appropriate steps to complete a task or problem.

Types of Interventions

Examples of cognitive rehabilitation interventions include training in use of a memory notebook for those with mild to moderately severe memory difficulties or visual scanning training for those with visual neglect. Services are tailored to an individual's specific needs and can be provided on an inpatient and outpatient basis.