Cognitive-Communication Disorders


Cognitive-communication disorders are problems with communication that have an underlying cause in a cognitive deficit rather than a primary language or speech deficit.


A cognitive-communication disorder results from impaired functioning of one or more cognitive processes, including the following:

  • Attention (e.g., selective concentration)
  • Memory (e.g., recall of facts, procedures, and past – future events)
  • Perception (e.g., interpretation of sensory information)
  • Insight & judgment (e.g., understanding one’s own limitations and what they mean)
  • Organization (e.g., arranging ideas in a useful order)
  • Orientation (e.g., knowing where and who you are, when it is, why you’re there)
  • Language (e.g., words for communication)
  • Processing speed (e.g., quick thinking and understanding)
  • Problem-solving (e.g., finding solutions to obstacles)
  • Reasoning (e.g., logically thinking through situations)
  • Executive functioning (e.g., making a plan, acting it out, evaluating success and adjusting)
  • Metacognition (e.g., thinking about how you think)


Identifying any neurodegenerative disease is first recognized by a neurologist and medical team. Most individuals will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan to confirm the presence of neurological differences to accurately diagnose.

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) will perform a comprehensive examination of the person’s communication abilities, such as, speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. The SLP will then determine how their deficits are impacting their everyday functioning.


Speech-language therapy will always be individualized and will include a combination of techniques that are aimed at restoring function, compensating for deficits, and providing education to the client and family about their disorder and its treatment.

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