Accommodation Solutions Online

Fatigue (Cognitive) (3B)

Cognitive fatigue is mental exhaustion from overexertion of the auditory, visual, or executive functioning processes.
Cognitive fatigue impacts a student's ability to effectively process information during long class sessions and exams. There are a number of ways that cognitive fatigue can impact a student. For example, a student with a hearing impairment watching a film with the aid of an interpreter must move visual focus from the interpreter to the film constantly. When a student is experiencing cognitive fatigue, it becomes difficult to effectively process information. Cognitive fatigue is often a by-product of medications designed to slow down processing such as anxiety medications. In addition, many medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic infections, cancer, etc. can cause cognitive fatigue as a result of physical fatigue or side effects of medication.

Formal Diagnostics

  • Diagnostic information that includes neurological disorders, use of interpreters or Braille, or use of strategies to process information would be indicators of cognitive fatigue.

Intake Questions

  • Do you use interpreters or transcriptionists?
  • Does it become more difficult to concentrate on the lecture at the end of class?
  • When working on a long and difficult assignment do you have difficulty maintaining concentration and do you have to stop and return to it?
  • Do you have difficulty tracking conversations?
  • Are the mornings a better time for learning than the afternoons?
  • What accommodations or strategies have been effective in the past?


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