Cognitive Disabilities

There is no accurate definition of cognitive disabilities for its concept is extremely wide. Generally and simply speaking, cognitive disabilities are related to a person’s inability to perform cerebral tasks. Usually cognitive disability is associated with the individual’s physiology or biology. Cognitive disabilities have a wide array of types and below we will discover some common and typical ones.

Typical Cognitive Disabilities

Some of the typical cognitive disabilities include autism, traumatic brain injury, dementia, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and learning disabilities. Let us have a look at these disabilities in detail.

1. Autism

Autism disorder (classical ASD) is one of the most common cognitive disorders which belongs to a set of developmental disorders called autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Autism reduces the ability of an individual to socially interact and have smooth verbal and nonverbal communication. Autistic patients show repetitive behaviors and are driven towards obsessive interests.

Treatment. It is hard to identify autism in children because of its varying nature of symptoms. Most scientists have held genetics and environment responsible for autism in children. To this day autism is incurable, but there are several therapies to improve specific behaviors in the patients or have proven helpful in controlling this disorder. There are several treatments for children, like medications and behavioral interventions along with other behavioral therapies. The earlier you start the intervention the better.

Here is a video to tell you the life with autism.

2. Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most hazardous brain disorders which is a brain injury that crops up when a sudden trauma causes damage to the cerebral. Symptoms include lightheadedness, blurred vision or tired eyes, loss of consciousness for a few minutes, dizziness, confusion, behavioral or mood changes, bad taste in the mouth, trouble with remembering things or focusing and thinking, ringing in the ears, headache, a change in sleep patterns and fatigue.

Treatment. People with a severe traumatic brain injury need immediate medical attention, as delay in the treatment might lead to something serious. There is no medication to reverse the brain damage caused by the brain trauma, but treatment stabilizes the patient and precludes any further damage to the brain. Major job for medical personnel is to control a patient’s blood pressure, ensure adequate supply of oxygen to the brain and maintain blood flow.

3. Dementia

Dementia are usually caused by some disorder that impairs the intellectual function of the brain like front temporal dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Huntington’s disease. Patients are unable to perform day-to-day activities and keep control of their emotions. Most dementia patients become delusional; from time to time, they experience personality changes, behavioral changes such as hallucinations and agitation.

Treatment. There are several drugs specifically formulated to treat dementia symptoms, but unfortunately, they are not designed to reverse the brain damage or cure dementia. Dementia medication slows the progress of the disease and improves patient’s quality of life.  Several dementia drugs for Alzheimer’s disease are available and are known to improve patients’ symptoms.

Here are stories of supporting families living with dementia.

4. Attention Deficit-hyperactivity Disorder

Another major cerebral disorder is the attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurobehavioral disorder that usually occurs in children. ADHD prevents a person to focus on a particular task and exercise age-appropriate inhibition either cognitive or behavioral. If a child is unable to organize himself, or fails to follow instructions, fidgets, talks and procrastinates a lot, get him checked for ADHD.

Treatment. ADHD treatment includes methylphenidate (Ritalin) medication or dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), both of which are stimulants that reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity improving focus in children. The treatment is not limited to the medication and the major part is the behavioral therapy.

5. Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are not directly linked to frail intelligence; it is associated with a person’s way of seeing, hearing and remembering things. There is a broad array of learning problems found in both adults and children, including trouble with reading, writing, reasoning, arithmetic calculations and verbal communication. People with learning disability have trouble absorbing new information and learning new skills.

  • Learning Disabilities in Reading (Dyslexia). Dyslexia is usually of two types, disability in basic reading and disability in comprehension. Disability in reading is associated with difficulty in differentiating between letter sounds and words. Disability in comprehension is associated with the person’s inability to understand the meaning of the sentences and words. In general, symptoms include difficulty in word and its sound recognition, understanding the ideas, basic vocabulary skills, and reading with fluency. With proper guidance and attention, this disability can be controlled.
  • Learning Disabilities in Math (Dyscalculia). Dyscalculia is associated with the inability to perform simple mathematics calculations. Dyscalculia varies in children depending on their mental strength and weaknesses. Symptoms include trouble memorizing simple math principles like numbers, operation signs, learning counting principles and telling time. This disability is common among children and can be improved by providing the child with proper attention. It is important to talk to teachers, because they must give dyscalculia children more attention than regular kids.
  • Learning Disabilities in Writing (Dysgraphia). Dysgraphia is another learning disability commonly found in children. Children with Dysgraphia have trouble performing simple writing tasks like the physical act of writing, understanding how to make proper sentences and synthesizing the information. Symptoms include difficulty in writing coherent and organized text, spelling consistency, orderly writing and copying of letters and words in exact manner. It is ideal to talk to a child specialist to help patient cope with this disability.
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