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
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
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
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.
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
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
Nate’s Emerson’s interest in voice acting, theater, and comedy began when he was in high school. Using a WordPress blog to capture his strengths, interests, goals, and preferences, Nate was one of the first individuals to transition his electronic portfolio into the MyLife application. 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
As the name implies, Custom Categories in Routines allows you to group a collection of routines that are specific to, say, an organization, a school, or a community living facility.
The benefit of the Custom Categories feature is that many people can be added to the category during the time it is created. For example, a teacher may create a custom category called Community Living Skills and add all of his currently-enrolled students with an existing Cognitopia account. Continue reading
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
Raising three boys in rural Oregon in the late 1980s and 1990s, Trina began to first notice unique developmental behavior in her three-year-old son Clinton as he was just learning to read. “Clinton had learned all of the sounds, but phonetically he couldn’t put them together. Even today, Clinton is more typical in that he can read the dictionary and learn the definitions of words or small things, but he cannot read a novel.” 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
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
Last fall I decided I was going to college and I was very excited about my decision. I took the placement tests for reading, writing, and math and I got into credits classes at Lane Community College. I started in the winter term and I was ready to quit in the second week. Why? Because there was a lot of homework and speed. Continue reading
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
The transition between adolescence and adulthood is hard, but it can be really hard for people who experience Autism Spectrum Disorder. It’s also a stressful time for parents.
Sherry Sandreth knows this from personal experience. Continue reading
My name is Josh. I’m a special education transition teacher in the Eugene, Oregon 4J school district and work in a program called Connections. Connections is designed to support students as they move from high school to adulthood; we serve students who are 18 to 21 years old who have graduated high school with modified diplomas. Continue reading
Beyond setting the foundation for teamwork, work ethic, and a sense of ownership, assigning my kids household chores helps me feel a little bit less like Alice from the television show “Brady Bunch.” As many parents can relate, keeping up with your kids’ chore list is a chore in itself. Continue reading