Addressing Functional Cognition in Mental Health








Series Description

This three-part series focuses on understanding the cognitive impairments associated with mental illness and the impact on participation and performance in everyday life. The series will provide an overview of cognitive impairment and its influence on participation, the evaluation process and intervention approaches.  


All sessions are scheduled from 11 am MT/12 pm CT - 12 pm MT/1 pm CT


October 3 

Session 1:  Cognitive Impairment and Influence on Performance 

The purpose of session 1 is to provide an overview of the types of cognitive impairments associated with DSM-5 diagnoses and the impact of these impairments on participation and performance in daily life.



  1. Define cognition and functional cognition
  2. Identify types of cognitive impairment associated with DSM-5 diagnoses
  3. Identify examples of impacts on everyday participation and performance
  4. Identify why addressing cognition is important 


October 10

Session 2:  Evaluation of Cognitive Impairment

The purpose of session 2 is to provide an understanding of reason for referral for evaluation and the purpose of the evaluation process.



  1. Review behaviors that may impact functional performance (reason for referral)
  2. Identify potential screening tools
  3. Identify referral sources
  4. Understand the purpose and types of evaluation
  5. Identify billing and payment opportunities


October 24

Session 3:  Interventions for Cognitive Impairment

The purpose of session 3 is to provide an understanding of types of intervention approaches including compensation, environmental modification or remediation.



  1. Differentiate between 3 approaches to cognitive intervention
  2. Understand examples of each cognitive intervention approach
  3. Understand differences in intervention-based context



Jessa Hulteng, PhD, OTR/L


Jessa Hulteng is an assistant professor in occupational therapy at the University of North Dakota. She teaches courses related to mental functions and interventions to promote occupational performance. Jessa has advanced knowledge in neurorehabilitation and functional cognition. 


Taylor LaVoi, MOT, OTR/L


Taylor LaVoi is an occupational therapist currently working at Sanford Health in Fargo, North Dakota on the inpatient psychiatric unit. Their background is in neurorehabilitation with experience in various settings including: acute hospitalization, outpatient, skilled nursing rehabilitation, and orthopedic care. Taylor takes pride in the opportunity to serve on the ethics committee at Sanford in Fargo. They’re grateful for the privilege to serve members of the community through occupational therapy services.


Sarah Nielsen, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA


Sarah Nielsen is professor and chair at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND, in the Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine and Health Sciences.  Sarah has over 20 years of experience working with children, youth and young adults with mental health issues in communities and schools. Her clinical practice included developing and implementing trauma-informed approaches and cognition in mental health care.


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