Right Hemisphere Syndrome

Right Hemisphere Syndrome is a disorder associated with damage to the right side of the brain, which can be caused by strokes, brain tumors, head trauma, anoxia/hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain), and various other neurological diseases.


Symptoms can include difficulty with:

  • Attention – unable to focus on a task or conversation, change task or subject, and/or concentrate on multiple tasks
  • Memory – forgetting recent information, events, or people
  • Organization – trouble organizing thoughts, balancing checkbook, dressing, meal planning, etc.
  • Reasoning – making poor decisions, unable to weigh the consequences
  • Problem Solving – trouble effectively/safely solving problems
  • Orientation – difficulty with date, time, and place information
  • Pragmatics – poor social interaction skills
  • Visual-Spatial Perception – misjudging distance, colors, shapes, etc.
  • Situational Judgement – poor decisions about safety in situations

Individuals may also present with:

  • Impulsivity – moving without thinking about safety first or speaking without considering the context/conversation/timing first
  • Aggression – verbally or physically acting out without reason
  • Denial of Deficits – believing that nothing is wrong
  • Lability – excessive weepiness or inappropriate emotional displays
  • Lack of Emotion – appearing disinterested or having no expression Left-side Weakness or Paralysis
  • Neglect of the Left Side – ignoring objects/people to their left and/or decreased awareness of the left side of their own body

Family Involvement

You can help to decrease the impact of these deficits by:

  • Making, maintaining, and encouraging eye contact.
  • Decreasing length of activities and tasks.
  • Providing a consistent routine each day.
  • Using calendars, clock, and notebooks to serve as a reminder of important information.
  • Decrease distractions, both visual and auditory, when communicating (turn off the TV/radio and limit the number of people/topics in a conversation).
  • Stand to the person’s right side and place objects to their right if they are experiencing left-side neglect.
  • Break down instructions to single steps and repeat directions as needed.
  • Ask questions and use reminders to maintain topic during conversations.
  • Avoid sarcasm, metaphors, and other figurative language when speaking.
  • Avoid arguments; attempts to reason with them may cause increased aggression.
  • Provide appropriate supervision to ensure their safety.
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