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What Is Cognitive Remediation?

Cognitive remediation is a form of rehabilitation therapy that we use to treat children ages 9 through 15 who have experienced neurological trauma. This trauma may include a variety of neurological diagnoses, such as:

What is the goal of cognitive remediation?

Cognitive remediation brings change by helping caregivers gain a better understanding of each child’s abilities through a personalized program. This approach focuses on your child’s strengths to counteract his acquired weaknesses. It also focuses on rehabilitating known weaknesses through retraining and using a variety of techniques for learning.

Cognitive remediation sharpens the skills required for impulse control and memory improvement. It relies on a strategy substitution model—a careful analysis of what strategies are currently not working—to determine more efficient approaches for your child. Cognitive remediation also evaluates and controls environmental factors that may be making your child’s problem worse.

This program specifically targets:

  • Attention deficits
  • Poor memory
  • Learning difficulty
  • Poor social skills

The goal in remediating cognitive deficits is to provide the greatest benefit to your child and help him apply new skills to a variety of situations. Specialists suggest modifications that may help your child at school and home. This program also emphasizes the skills necessary for your child to build positive peer relationships and make better decisions about independence and responsible behavior.

Will this program work for my child?

The Cognitive Remediation Program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta primarily benefits children ages 9 through 15. An experienced team of neuropsychologists, school psychologists, clinical psychologists, neuropsychometrists and therapists works together to give the most appropriate care to your child.

A neuropsychologist assesses each child to determine if he or she would benefit from this program. The program provides a link for Children’s patients who need outpatient support and education following an acute inpatient hospitalization or treatment at the Day Rehabilitation Program and provides continuity in treatment.

The program is also successful in helping children with late effects from chemotherapy and even mild head trauma. The cognitive remediation team helps promote follow-up care to facilitate adjustment at home and school.

How long can my child receive these services?

Each candidate for the program receives nine one-hour sessions. First, your child has a pre-screening assessment to gather information about his basic learning style and current level of functioning. Parents may be able to complete many areas of the pre-screening assessment at home. During this one-hour assessment, our staff evaluates:

  • Behavioral adjustment
  • Signs of depression or anxiety
  • Auditory and visual memory
  • Attention and concentration
  • Desired learning styles
  • Social skills

After neuropsychological testing, our team uses information from parents and the neuropsychologist to tailor a personalized treatment program for your child’s outpatient sessions. The team evaluates your child at the end of the program to measure his progress.

What techniques are used to help my child?

Our therapists show your child how to perform each strategy for learning and ask him to practice these tasks between sessions. The team emphasizes strategies that highlight different aspects of learning (for example, visual-spatial and auditory-verbal strategies). By using examples that relate to everyday activities and practicing the techniques, your child learns to transfer this information to home and school.

Neuropsychology accepts all payers when a child’s diagnosis is medical or neurological. However, based on the department’s availability, patients deemed to be outside the typical scope of care (a behavioral issue not related to a medical diagnosis) will be processed as a self-pay patient or referred out to a community provider depending on appointment availability.