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Cognitive Impairment<br />Andrea Schwoeppe<br />Education 306<br />December 2, 2009<br />Cognitive impairment; what do you think of when you hear those words or a child that is labeled as having a cognitive impairment? There are a variety of factors that contribute to a cognitive impairment. Every individual is affected differently. The cognitive impairment normally happens at birth or originates before the age of eighteen. A cognitive impairment is defined as an unusual or poor mental function, which is related with confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty remembering information. People who have a cognitive impairment face a deficiency in the capability to perceive, think, reason, and even remember. If people are faced with these difficulties, sometimes it results in a loss of being able to provide for themself and take care of their daily living needs. Cognitive impairments also include problems in mental functions, such as intelligence, judgment, learning, memory, speech, and thinking.<br />There are numerous characteristics associated with a cognitive disorder. Cognitive impairments are characterized by the mentally challenged disability, by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviors. These characteristics are typically expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. Some common characteristics associated with cognitive impairments are forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, showing signs of confusion or disorientation, disorganization, or having delirium or dementia. They could also have delusions, paranoia, or hallucinations. Sometimes cognitive impairments result from a specific learning disability or developmental impairment. <br />There are different factors that could cause cognitive impairments in people. One way a parent could decrease the chance of their child having a cognitive delay, is by providing proper prenatal care. That is one of the easiest, most preventive ways. The major cause of cognitive delay is due to trauma at birth. Other causes are Down syndrome, due to the environment in which people live, fetal alcohol syndrome, or hydrocephalus, which is when the brain swells due to the improper flow of blood to the brain. They could also be caused from genetics, head injury, or brain trauma.<br />There are three levels of cognitive impairments. They are mild, moderate, or severe and profound. The most common type is the mild cognitive delays, which are usually noticeable to other people and able to be recognized on tests, but not serious enough to interfere with daily tasks and activities. Someone who has a mild cognitive delay usually has the most difficulty with memory. Someone who has a moderate cognitive impairment usually later develop dementia. Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with other certain diseases. It can involve difficulties with language, memory, perception, emotional behavior or personality, and cognitive skills. Dementia takes about fifteen to twenty years to develop, but usually starts because of a moderate cognitive delay. People with a severe or profound cognitive delay usually have to have another person with them most of the time. They usually need someone that will help remind them, direct them, and help them think about things more in depth. <br />In the classroom, the teacher needs to keep in mind that there are three areas of need to be considered with labels that are given to students with a cognitive impairment. The three areas to focus on are academic achievement, general intelligence ability, and adaptive behavior. Academic achievement indicates how well a student is performing in the classroom. Are they trying their hardest or working well with others? General intelligence ability is expressed through tests scores. The tests scores are used to help determine their abilities along with how intelligent they are. Adaptive behavior refers to social skills or how well a child adapts to his/her environment. Based on their adaptive behaviors the teacher is able to determine the students’ level of independence. Their social skills must be taken into consideration when examining a child for specific placement services.<br />In the classroom, modifications will need to be made for students with cognitive impairments. Students with mild deficiencies are normally in the general education classroom the entire time with extra support or assistance from the teacher or an aide. When teaching students with mild cognitive delays, the teacher will probably teach them social skills. They will learn how to interact and work with others. It is important for students to be able to communicate with their peers, parents, and other adults in various ways. Students with moderate cognitive deficiencies are mainstreamed for most activities. They also need extra assistance from the special education teacher or an aide. They are typically taught skills they need to develop in life. Some life skills could be accessing public transportation and being able to read the transportation schedules. It is also important to teach students how to read a phone book and how to order from a menu. Students with severe or profound cognitive deficiencies are usually mainstreamed in the classroom for socialization reasons; otherwise they are working with the special education teacher. Being in the general education classroom allows the students to interact with peers. Some life skills are taught if they are appropriate for the individual. Students are usually taught skills to help them be independent. Some independent skills they may be taught are how to pay bills and appropriate habits to have at work. <br />There are other general strategies to make in the classroom, to help make a student with a cognitive impairment be successful. A teacher needs to make sure the students are on task. This is the opportunity for the teacher to remind them what they are supposed to be doing if they notice a student off task. The teacher needs to provide support for his/her students to make sure the students have an accessible place to learn. It is the teachers’ job to be accessible to all students when they may need extra assistance or guidance. A different method of teaching is to collaborate with colleagues or co-teach with another teacher to better meet the needs of every student in the classroom. It is important to teach content that is meaningful to all of the students. The teacher should try to spark interest in every child when teaching. The teacher should also use hands-on activities. All students learn differently, not just the students labeled or needing extra assistance from the special education teacher. Hands-on activities can help numerous children learn content information. The most important thing a teacher should do in his/her classroom is to adapt the material and content to the students’ needs. As a teacher you should get to know all of your students and be able to adapt to their needs, even if they do not have a cognitive impairment. <br /> <br />Bibliography<br />“Definitions of Cognitive impairment on the Web.” Google. 2, Dec. 2009. <http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define%3ACognitive+impairment>. <br />“Cognitive Impairment.” WD. 2, Dec. 2009. Health Grades Inc. 2009. <http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/sym/cognitive_impairment.htm>.<br />“Mild Cognitive Impairment.” MayClinic.com. 2, Dec. 2009. Foundation for Medical Education and Research. 23, June 2009. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mild-cognitive-impairment/DS00553>.<br />“Mild or Moderate Cognitive Impairment.” Place for Achieving Total Health. 2, Dec. 2009. Eric Braveman, MD. 29, June 2009. <http://www.pathmed.com/faq/?p=132>.<br />The book <br />