Engaging Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities in the Development of Self-Management Tools Through Participatory Design

Co-Authors: Tom Keating and Tobias Rickard

Why Participatory Design?

Cognitopia develops accessible software for people with cognitive disabilities to self-manage everyday activities using web-based tools that foster independence, while also enhancing support received from families, teachers, and adult service providers. In the early 2000’s, when I first began teaching in a community-based transition program, I had the opportunity to work with Cognitopia’s founder, Tom Keating, on the development of Picture PlannerTM, a visual calendaring application. Students and teachers from that transition program played an important role in shaping the development of Picture PlannerTM, and these experiences led us to the inescapable understanding that the entire development process needs to include input from the individuals who will be using the product. Continue reading

OSTC 2019: Igniting Partnerships for Student Success

This past March, Eugene welcomed transition specialists and educators from across the state of Oregon for two days of professional development and networking at the 2019 Oregon Statewide Transition Conference. The theme of this year’s conference was Igniting Partnerships for Student Success, a natural fit for our session on Supporting Seamless Transition Through Technology for Self-Determination and Data Sharing. Continue reading

Transitions Cost More Than $2.3B in IDD Support Services

Cyclic Regression Causes Expensive Turnover, Painful Restarts, and Critical Struggles.

 Decrease staff training costs.
Create smoother transitions for clients.
Preserve your investments in human resources.
Have a sustained impact on client quality of life.

You have a clear and special mission to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), promote their independence, and to bring meaningful improvements to their lives. You measure success by how well you can increase their abilities and help them solve daily challenges. That’s why your organization exists, and that’s what builds a smile on your face and warms your heart. You take all the steps needed to design a high-quality program with the service payments available to drive the supports you provide. Continue reading

Free April Webinars for Autism Awareness Month

Over the past year, many of you expressed an interest in learning more about the Cognitopia platform of apps to support self-determination and independence for individuals with autism and other cognitive exceptionalities.

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we have two free webinars scheduled for April:

  • Tuesday, April 16: 4pm – 5pm PST
  • Thursday, April 18: 12pm – 1pm PST

Register here for either of these days and times and we’ll send you an email with event details. If these times don’t work but you’d like to participate at another time, let us know that too because we’ll be holding additional sessions at a later date.

Meet our Founder: Tom Keating

For over 25 years, Tom Keating has worked on developing technology to improve the capabilities of people with cognitive disabilities. This has ultimately led to the development of the Cognitopia Platform for Self-Determination, which fosters greater independence and better support.

Continue reading

2018: A Year in Review

As 2018 comes to a close, we’re taking a moment to reflect upon the progress Cognitopia has made this year. We credit much of this momentum and success to you, our many wonderful students, teachers, clients, and organizations using the Cognitopia Platform for Self-Determination on a daily basis to facilitate person-centered planning, goal setting, and self-managed independent living and work. Continue reading

Cognitopia Evolution: Then and Now

In many ways, Cognitopia got its start when our CEO and founder Tom Keating became the primary caregiver for his brother James who experienced autism. James moved from their parents’ home in New York to live with Tom and their other brother, Francis, in Eugene, Oregon in 1981.  Continue reading

Eugene Tech Company Awarded Almost $700,000 in New Grant Funding to Further Community Participation and Meaningful Employment for Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities

PRESS RELEASE

EUGENE, OR: OCT 25, 2018: Assistech Systems, LLC, a small business focused on research and development of technology to support employment, education, and community living for youth and adults with cognitive disabilities, together with its commercialization partner, Cognitopia, announce two new grant projects that have been funded through the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), which is housed in the Administration on Community Living within the Department of Health and Human Services. The new funding will support the development of digital technology that augments the company’s existing platform of web apps designed for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism. Continue reading

Announcing the New MyLife

Earlier this week Cognitopia released a major upgrade to the MyLife ePortfolio application for IEP Self-Direction and Person-Centered Planning.

MyLife is being successfully used in elementary, middle, and high schools as well as in college programs and adult customized employment and supported living services across the United States. The new MyLife is more intuitive, customizable and user-friendly, strengthening the focus on self-determination—a core value of the Cognitopia Platform. The new design reflects the incredible feedback and suggestions we’ve received from all of these user groups. Continue reading

Cognitopia Webinar: “Do it, Track it, Show it”

Last month we had our first webinar “Do it, Track it, Show it,” where Tom Keating spent the better part of an hour introducing attendees to the fundamentals of the Cognitopia Platform. He began with a general discussion on how the Cognitopia apps support self-determination, transition, and independent living and then moved into some of the core design features that facilitate both independent and shared/team use. Continue reading

Some Cool New Assistive Technology Products

“For people without disabilities, technology makes it better;
For people with disabilities, technology makes it possible…”

John D. Kemp
http://www.viscardicenter.org

Cognitopia exhibited and presented on its innovative platform of self-management applications for individuals with cognitive disabilities at the 2017 Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference in Orlando, Florida last month. ATIA is a gathering of people who research, create, manufacture, and use assistive technology — products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living for persons with disabilities. Continue reading

Cognitopia 2.0

Tom Keating and I both grew up with younger brothers on the autism spectrum. We know that sometimes facing the seemingly “little things” is often more difficult than what other people will ever be able to understand. We also know how simple solutions to everyday problems can have a large impact on a person’s quality of life. Continue reading