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Functional Communication Skills

What Are Cognitive-Communication Skills?

Cognitive-communication skills are what we use to process information in our brains and communicate with others effectively. They include attention, memory, mental organization, problem solving skills, executive functions, and more.

Cognitive-communication skills, simply put, encompass the mental aspects of communication. These skills should be distinguished from the physical–bodily aspects of human communication: the jaw, lips, tongue, etc.

Cognitive -communication skills are an essential part of good communication in all bilingual children and adults. Speech is both a physical and mental process, and both areas must be carefully cultivated throughout a child’s development.

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Bilingual Speech Online is an online parent education and training program that supports bilingual (Spanish-English) children ages 1-3 who may have speech-language delays or disorders.

What Is a Cognitive-Communication Disorder?

A cognitive-communication disorder is any condition or injury that impedes a person’s ability to mentally process their communication with others. For example, memory, processing, and attention span can all be negatively affected by cognitive-communication disorders.

A cognitive-communication disorder may include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and other forms of mental illness. Any condition that impedes the mental facets of verbal communication can be considered a type of cognitive-communication disorder.

Many communication problems can be caused by either physical or cognitive problems. For example, an articulation disorder, such as a lisp, can be caused by physical handicaps such as a cleft palate OR by certain kinds of brain disorders. As such, most children who exhibit communication issues or difficulties are referred initially for speech and language evaluations in order to determine the nature of their issue and how best to treat it.

If you are unsure whether your child has a cognitive-communication disorder, consider consulting with a specialist.

How to Know If Your Child Has a Cognitive-Communication Disorder

It is not always obvious whether a person—particularly a child—has a cognitive-communication disorder or not. Many common symptoms can be attributed to simple changes in mood or quirky childhood behavior.

Particularly among bilingual children, it can be hard to tell whether a communication difficulty results from a disorder or simply the natural difficulties of learning two languages at once.

Here are some common symptoms that may indicate a cognitive-communication disorder. Your child may:

If your child experiences a marked decline in their cognitive and communications skills, see a specialist right away. Reach out to us anytime for a free consultation.

How Does Bilingual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT for short, is a form of therapy aimed at treating cognitive-communication disorders in patients of all ages.

How does cognitive behavioral therapy work? CBT is considered a type of talk therapy or psychotherapy. Our bilingual cognitive behavioral therapists will work with clients in a structured way to help them become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking and behaviors.

The specific treatment method will be determined by our expert bilingual speech-language pathologists based on the following criteria:

  • Age
  • Overall health and medical history
  • Type and extent of the disorder
  • Family’s opinions and preferences

We work closely with you, as well as teachers and doctors as applicable, to devise a treatment plan based on your specific needs. Our treatment plan may include:

  • Techniques and exercises aimed at improving memory and communication
  • Alternative forms of communication such as sign language or a picture communication board, if needed
  • Using tools like calendars and journals to support organization, planning, and memory


The goal of bilingual cognitive behavioral therapy is to develop foundational mental skills and abilities across multiple languages in a structured and organized way.