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Functional Cognition

Refers to the cognitive abilities and language processes that are directly related to performing everyday activities and tasks necessary for independent living. It involves the integration of cognitive functions with the practical aspects of daily life, allowing individuals to adapt and navigate their environment successfully. This concept is particularly relevant in the context of rehabilitation and assessing an individual's capacity to engage in meaningful and purposeful activities.

Functional Cognition & Language

Functional cognition and language/communication deficits are often assessed and addressed in rehabilitation settings, especially for individuals recovering from brain injuries or strokes. Rehabilitation programs may focus on enhancing functional cognition to promote independence and quality of life. By addressing functional cognition, rehabilitation efforts aim to optimize an individual's ability to live independently and participate actively in their community. This approach recognizes the importance of cognitive abilities in the context of real-world, day-to-day functioning. Following a stroke or brain injury a person may experience executive functioning, attention deficits, problem solving deficits, inability to complete medication/money management skills needed for daily life, expressive aphasia, receptive aphasia, global aphasia, apraxia, and dysarthria.

Executive Functioning: Refers to a set of cognitive skills that enable individuals to plan, organize, initiate, monitor, time management, emotional regulation, cognitive flexibility and adjust their behavior in response to changing situations. It involves higher-order cognitive processes that facilitate goal-directed activities, problem-solving, and decision-making. Executive function is crucial for managing daily life tasks, achieving goals, and adapting to new or complex situations. 

Attention Deficits: Refer to difficulties in maintaining attention, focus, multi-tasking and sustained concentration on tasks or activities. Attention is a complex cognitive process that involves selecting and concentrating on specific stimuli while ignoring irrelevant or distracting information. Individuals who have had a stroke or brain injury may demonstrate impulsivity, inattentiveness, left/right inattention, perseveration impacting attention and contraction needed to start, sustain and complete a task. 

Medication & Money Management: Requires the use of executive function skills to monitor, organize information, problem solve, develop daily/weekly/monthly reminder systems and checklists to decrease error. Therapists will assist in developing an errorless system to monitor and track medication and money for patients to resume independence with IADLs. 

Problem Solving Deficits: The capacity to identify and solve problems encountered in everyday situations. This includes making decisions, planning, and adapting to changes in the environment. Problem solving skills assist patients in daily tasks such as dressing or navigating a kitchen to complete tasks such as resuming working roles or driving.

Expressive Aphasia: Is a language disorder that affects a person's ability to express themselves verbally or in writing. Individuals with expressive aphasia may have difficulty forming grammatically correct sentences, finding the right words, or articulating their thoughts. Despite having an understanding of language, they struggle to express themselves fluently. The content of their speech may be limited, and the use of function words (such as articles and prepositions) might be impaired. However, comprehension of language and the ability to understand spoken or written words may remain relatively intact.

Receptive Aphasia: Is a type of language disorder that affects the comprehension of spoken and written language. Individuals with receptive aphasia often have difficulty understanding the meaning of words and sentences, making it challenging to interpret spoken or written language. While they may produce speech fluently, the content may be nonsensical or lack coherence. Additionally, individuals with receptive aphasia may not be fully aware of their language deficits, which can contribute to communication difficulties.

Global Aphasia: Is a severe and comprehensive language impairment that affects multiple aspects of language processing, including both expressive and receptive language skills. Individuals with global aphasia experience significant difficulties in speaking, understanding, reading, and writing.

Apraxia: Is a motor planning and coordination disorder that can affect various voluntary movements, including speech. Apraxia of speech, specifically, is a condition where individuals have difficulty planning and coordinating the precise movements of the muscles involved in speech production. It is not related to muscle weakness or paralysis but rather involves an impairment in the ability to plan and execute the movements necessary for clear and accurate speech.

Dysarthria: Is a motor speech disorder characterized by impaired articulation, strength, coordination, and control of the muscles used for speech. It results from damage to brain affecting the muscles involved in speech production. Dysarthria can cause slurred or unclear speech, making it difficult for individuals to be understood.

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