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Right Hemisphere Damage

Right hemisphere damage (RHD; also known as “right hemisphere disorder” and “right hemisphere brain damage”) is an acquired brain injury.  RHD results in impairments in language and other cognitive domains  is usually a result of a stroke or TBI.

RHD can affect processing of words, organization of conversations, prosody and use of language in social situations.

RHD can also cause impairments in other cognitive domains—including attention, memory, and executive functioning—that can interfere with communication abilities. Impairments can include anosagnosia (reduced awareness of deficits) and visual neglect (aspects of visual abilities are ignored.

Deficits associated with RHD may be more evident during the performance of multidimensional, complex tasks such as conversation (Ferré, Ska, Lajoie, Bleau, & Joanette, 2011) and can have a significant impact on functional performance in social and work settings (Blake, 2006; Lehman & Tompkins, 2000).

In a very small proportion of right-handed individuals, the language centers are located in the right hemisphere of the brain, rather than in the left hemisphere. In these individuals, damage to the right hemisphere may result in symptoms of aphasia similar to those normally associated with a left hemisphere lesion. This condition is known as crossed aphasia (e.g., Coppens, Hungerford, Yamaguchi, & Yamadori, 2002).

Information adapted from

Speech-Language Pathology Evaluation & Therapy

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) have specialty training in evaluating individuals with right hemisphere brain damage.  Evaluations include an individualized and detailed assessment of a person’s use of melody in speech production(prosody), emotional affect while speaking, use of language, and cognitive functioning( attention, memory and executive functioning.

Treatment plans are developed collaboratively between a person with right hemisphere damage, caregivers and the speech-language pathologist.  Treatment may address improvement of speaking, listening, theory of mind, use of language and executive function abilities.   Strategy use may also be included in the treatment plan.

Additional Information

Right Hemisphere Support Group Nazareth College