Stairway to STEM (STS) is a National Science Foundation-funded project that launched in October 2018. Our mission is to help autistic students realize their capacity for success as they transition to college environments and beyond. We are a web-based resource, and our content includes more than 150 posts, videos, interviews, podcasts, and other materials that support students who have autism, particularly in STEM college and technician education programs. We foster student confidence, resiliency, and self-advocacy. (Sometimes we are asked about why we use both identity-first and person-first language. Learn more here.) Continue reading
Within the Cognitopia Platform for Self-Determination a routine is a sequence of steps consisting of actions that lead to the accomplishment of work assignments, activities of daily living, social skills, recreational activities, or any other self-management task. In practice, the concept of a routine may be referred to as a step-by-step procedure, schedule, task list, plan, or even a goal. Regardless of the terminology, the essential principle is that any routine can be broken down into individual steps to facilitate learning. Educationally, teaching routines or breaking down activities into steps is often referred to as task analysis and is a key component of systematic instruction. Continue reading
Earlier this month Phil Hayes, our New England Representative, had the opportunity to participate with his family in a unique experience highlighting the inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities in greater Swampscott, Massachusetts.
At an event co-sponsored by Swampscott Public Schools Student Services, TASH New England, and Swampscott Unites, Respects and Embraces (S.U.R.E) Diversity, Phil’s wife Lisa Julien-Hayes and twelve-year-old son Cole were selected as panelists during the screening of Intelligent Lives, a film by Dan Habib that highlights the origin and history of IQ tests and their long-term impact on society. Woven into the storyline are the backstories of three young adults with intellectual disabilities as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce. Continue reading
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Endorsed by the US Department of Labor (DOL), the purpose of NDEAM is to help educate individuals about disability employment issues and to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.
This premise falls in line with the tools we are developing at Cognitopia. Continue reading
Measuring student progress is essential to understanding areas of student need. For individuals with intellectual barriers or unique learning styles, activities like standardized testing or even quiz scores and letter grades over time can be demeaning and seem pointless. Perhaps more valuable for students’ overall educational experience is being able to understand for themselves how they are doing on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis through meaningful data visualization. Continue reading
Individual education planning (IEP) meetings can often be stressful for everyone involved and not feel particularly good for parents and teachers alike. But IEP meetings can be even more painful for students when they are not included and not prepared for what the meeting will involve.
Like many educators, I am a firm believer in having the student involved and engaged in their own IEP meeting and I often get asked about how to best involve students in the meeting planning process. Continue reading
Every word is part of living. So what if you are unable to talk? “What do you do to communicate?” People have been asking me that question since I was little. I tell them I use sign language for communicating with people. Then people ask me how do they understand you without an interpreter? Well, I have an iPad. That has a program called TouchChat. Continue reading
Managing the Routines of Daily Living
Goal Guide helps individuals with cognitive disabilities set goals, track progress, and share their accomplishments with others. In the course of developing Goal Guide we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the relationship between goals and routines of daily living. Continue reading
“For people without disabilities, technology makes it better;
For people with disabilities, technology makes it possible…”
John D. Kemp
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
There was one moment using the Picture Planner visual calendaring program back in 2001 that particularly sticks out for me.
Through the Eugene 4J Schools Community Living Program, students have the opportunity to volunteer at a nearby community garden. Like many people with autism spectrum disorders, my students that year had very restricted diets. Many of the students refused to eat vegetables. One person had never eaten foods that were a different color other than white. Continue reading
Each December, a bit of holiday magic blows down from the North Pole and brings Oliver the Christmas Elf to life. While all of our children are dreaming of sugarplum fairies and life-like wooden soldiers, Oliver cleverly hides his fluffy little body in a place that delights, yet challenges, the entire household come first light. Continue reading
I remember first meeting Tom Keating in 2001 at the Community Living Program (CLP) in Eugene, Oregon. The CLP is a special education program for students ages 18-21 with a range of exceptionalities who have either graduated with a modified diploma or high school equivalency. Continue reading
Well, it’s back to school time, time to get off your butt and work, time to focus on your life, time to keep the time. It’s also time to get your goals established. Yeah, you have to deal with those people that want to make you jump off a cliff, but it’s also time to focus on yourself and what you need. Continue reading
Cognitopia stated out as an idea, much like a seed, now it has grown into a beautiful tree with flourishing branches that give ideas, encouragement and motivation. Continue reading
In his opening remarks at The Big Mix V2 event in March, Skip Newberry, president of the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) sited 20% overall growth for tech companies operating in and out of Eugene and Springfield, Oregon.
Founded in the entrepreneurial spirit of the Oregon Trail, it’s no surprise the Willamette Valley is a modern-day haven for startups, venture capital, and business incubators evolving from the hacker and maker space revolution responsible for shifting our collective paradigm on the importance of skilled trades. Continue reading
I recently heard an old RadioLab podcast focused on the question of “What is the Self“? That is, what constitutes our sense of who we are and how is that neurally represented, if in fact it is at all. In one segment of the show the hosts interview neurologist Paul Broks. Broks describes that sense of who we are as nothing more than the story we tell ourselves and others about our lives. The “self” is in essence that story.