Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder

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What to expect

Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder (RHCD)

Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder (RHCD) is a communication disorder caused by damage to the right hemisphere of the brain. Individuals with RHCD will experience difficulties in their social communication (pragmatics) and also have cognitive difficulties.

Speech and language therapy can be highly beneficial for individuals with RHCD. Speech and language therapy will help to support and improve an individual's social communication and also any cognitive difficulties.

What is Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder (RHCD)?

Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder (RHCD) is a communication disorder caused by damage to the right side of the brain. RHCD is also known as cognitive communication disorder.

In most individuals the right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for cognitive (thinking) functioning and the left hemisphere is responsible for the functioning of language.

RHCD causes difficulties in an individual's social communication (pragmatics) and also their cognitive ability e.g. impaired memory, difficulty with attention and poor reasoning skills.

Individuals with RHCD will often experience left sided neglect e.g. they may not brush the left side of their hair or eat food off the left side of their plate. It is also common for Individuals with RHCD to lack awareness of their difficulties (anosognosia).

Symptoms of Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder (RHCD)

An individual with RHCD may present with the following difficulties:

  • Attention and listening difficulties
  • Left sided weakness / neglect
  • Impaired ability to problem solve
  • Impairment of memory
  • Social communication (pragmatics) difficulties
  • Problems with orientation
  • Difficulties with reasoning
  • Lack of awareness of their problems (anosognosia)
  • Difficulties understanding abstract language e.g. metaphors and sarcasm
  • Difficulties understanding and using emotions

What causes Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder (RHCD)?

Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder is caused by damage to the Right side of the brain. Common causes of right hemisphere damage can include:

How is Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder (RHCD) diagnosed?

Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder is diagnosed by a team of medical professionals. Damage to the right hemisphere will be confirmed through clinical observations, tests and a CT head scan. A speech and language therapist will play a key role in identifying Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder.

What problems caused by Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder (RHCD) can speech and language therapy help with?

Speech and language therapy can help with a variety of difficulties caused by RHCD. Speech and language therapy can be beneficial in helping with the following difficulties experienced by individuals with RHCD:

How does speech and language therapy help Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder (RHCD)?

Speech and language therapy can help individuals with RHCD by helping them to communicate more effectively. Speech and language therapy can additionally help with any eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.

Right Hemisphere Communication Difficulties are often not as noticeable as communication difficulties seen in left hemisphere damage e.g. aphasia. Right hemisphere damage often causes cognitive communication difficulties and difficulties in using language appropriately in social situations. RHCD may also cause difficulties in understanding more abstract language e.g. jokes, sarcasm and metaphors. The speech and language therapist will play an important role in educating and advising others on the difficulties an individual with RHCD might experience.

Speech and language therapy is beneficial for individuals and also their family and others involved in their care in helping to promote a more effective communication environment.

What would speech and language therapy treatment for Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder (RHCD) involve?

An initial assessment carried out by the speech and language therapist will determine the types of difficulties an individual with RHCD is having and also the severity of their difficulties. An initial assessment will also help to decide on an appropriate treatment plan.

The speech and language therapist will create an individualised treatment plan which will be tailored to the individual's specific needs and abilities.

Individuals with RHCD will often not be aware of their difficulties and may not want to participate in therapy. The speech and language therapist will provide support, advice and encouragement to the individual and also their carers and family in helping them to communicate more effectively.

Therapy will focus on areas of difficulty including; social communication, attention, listening and also any cognitive difficulties. The speech and language therapist can teach the individual and their family techniques and strategies which will support their communication in everyday tasks.

After an initial assessment, treatment at speech and language therapy may involve:

Specific treatment for individuals with RHCD may include:

The main goal of therapy for individuals with RHCD is to help the individual communicate to their highest potential in their home, educational, work and social environments.

How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment?

To arrange an appointment with one of our speech and language therapist for Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder please email office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 0885 643.

Summary

Right Hemisphere Communication Disorder (RHCD) is a communication disorder caused by damage to the right hemisphere of the brain. Individuals with RHCD will experience difficulty in their social communication (pragmatics) and also have cognitive difficulties. Speech and language therapy is highly beneficial for individuals with RHCD and also their carers and family. If you feel speech and language therapy would be beneficial and would like to book an appointment with one of our therapists please email office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 0885 643.


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