Assessing Speech | Cognitive Exam - MedSchool
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Cognitive Exam

Assessing Speech



  • Written comprehension - show a written instruction, e.g.
  • Simple verbal comprehension - name objects such as pen, watch and key, and ask the patient to point to them.
  • Complex verbal comprehension - ask the patient to take a piece of paper into their right hand, fold it in half and then place the paper onto the floor.
  • Conceptual comprehension (understanding) - show the patient the same pen, watch and key as above and ask them to point to the object that shows the passage of time.

Word Repetition

    • How to Assess

      Ask the patient to repeat back words or sentences of increasing complexity.
    • Orange
    • Watch
    • Hippopotamus
    • Aubergine
    • Emerald
    • Perimeter
    • No ifs, ands or buts
    • British Constitution
    • The orchestra played and the audience applauded
    • Significance

    • Patients may not be able to repeat the terms back due to dysarthria, dysphasia, confusion or poor compliance.

Object Naming

  • Items around the room - point to objects and ask the patient to name them. Avoid frequently named items such as pen and watch - ask them to name objects such as cufflink or stethoscope.
  • Pictures of items - show drawings of objects and ask the patient to name them.
  • The Boston Naming Test (BNT) is an example of a tool used to assess word retrieval in brain damaged patients.
Last updated on August 20th, 2017