Practitioner Review: Cognitive rehabilitation for children with acquired brain injury


Jenny Limond, Paediatric Psychology, Mailpoint 99, 125 Tremona Road, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6HU, UK


Background:  The need to address acquired cognitive impairments is increasing in child populations seen across a range of settings. However, current clinical practice following brain injury in children does not necessarily incorporate the use of cognitive rehabilitation models or techniques. The aim of this paper is to review the literature in this area.

Methods:  All published interventions targeting the cognitive domains of attention, memory and/or executive function that could be identified were reviewed. Different cognitive rehabilitation techniques are briefly described and the clinical and research implications of the findings are discussed.

Results:  Eleven papers, involving 54 children and adolescents receiving intervention, were identified. This literature describes generalised cognitive rehabilitation programmes as well as more specific strategies targeting focal deficits.

Conclusions:  There is an absence of randomised controlled trials and a very limited number of studies using other methodological approaches, providing at this time no conclusive evidence for the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation for children with acquired brain injury, but a clear need to address a range of methodological difficulties in this field of enquiry.