Sunday, 6 May 2012
Cognitive neuroscience, brain imaging, language disorders
Written for a Masters level biopsych. class; thought I would post in case anyone find it relevant. Find references at the bottom.
An innovative therapist draws from a repertoire of treatment options, chosen for their suitability to meeting individual client needs; considering the neural basis of each diagnosis, is essential for an effective practitioner. In understanding principles of cognitive neuroscience, therapists can develop a comprehensive understanding of language-based disorders like Autism, Dyslexia, Aphasia and Apraxia. “The cognitive neuroscience approach is (...) dominating research on language and its disorders” (Pinel, 2007, p.471); it is informing new technology like brain scanning, allowing for a deeper understanding of the factors that impact language acquisition (Pinel, 2007). Understanding cognitive neuroscience under the umbrella of a holistic treatment approach that explores social, emotional, behavioural and psychological factors, allows practitioners to predict and understand the variables that influence the development of language in patients with language related disorders.
Understanding the characteristics of a diagnosis is essential for creating individualized, successful interventions. Providing individualized assessments based on investigation of client strengths and weaknesses provides the secondary component to effective treatment. Information acquired through cognitive neuroscience has informed practitioners about diagnoses, from a neurological perspective. Aphasia and Apraxia, for example, are the result of left hemisphere damage; although interestingly, symptoms appear in both hemispheres (Pinel, 2007). Dyslexia is a “difficulty in reading” (Pinel 2007, p.475), though not always associated with a cognitive delay; Aphasia is a “brain-damaged produced deficit in the ability to produce or comprehend language” (Pinel, 2007, p.444). Apraxia, on the other hand, leaves patients unable to complete basic motor tasks on demand, despite being physically capable of completing the action without forethought. Autism is a communication and socially based disorder, not always associated with cognitive delay, resulting in language impairments from moderate to severe. It is clear from what is known of cognitive neuroscience, that language develops in a systematic way (Pinel, 2007). Understanding the factors that contribute to language acquisition from a cognitive science perspective, will prove to be a vital starting point for clinicians working with individuals with language based disorders.
Pinel, J. (2007). Basic of Biopsychology. Toronto: Pearson. Allyn & Bacon