Cognitive neuropsychological rehabilitation: The emperor's new clothes?

  • Basso A
  • Marangolo P
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It has often been claimed that cognitive neuropsychology allows a far
better diagnosis and understanding of the nature of a patient's language
disorder than classical clinical diagnoses, and that a
theoretically-driven therapeutic intervention can only be based on a
cognitive diagnosis. In this paper we argue that: (1) Cognitive
neuropsychologists have fostered and made explicit knowledge about the
nature of aphasia which can be a rational starting point for
intervention; however, former aphasia therapy was not atheoretical, but
always based on existent theories of aphasia. (2) The new cognitive
dyslexia and dysgraphia syndromes are perhaps more homogeneous than the
classical diagnoses but no more informative or useful for rehabilitation
planning. (3) Due to the modularity assumption, cognitive rehabilitation
has sometimes been planned with only the damaged module/s being taken
into consideration. We argue that the whole functional structure of the
model adopted should be addressed because it can dictate the focus of
We conclude that cognitive neuropsychology allows a more detailed
analysis of the functional damage but provides no indication as to how
to implement rehabilitation for a given patient-even if it does evidence
the lack of rationality of many interventions.

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  • A Basso

  • P Marangolo

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