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

Five Tips for Creating an Effective Routine

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

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

Giving Students Meaningful Data to Measure their Progress

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