Project Inclusion: Help Improve Courses in Special Education at the University of Oregon

Too often, the lived experience of disability is not at the forefront of undergraduate learning, but a new effort is underway at the University of Oregon with support from The Tom and Carol Williams Fund for Undergraduate Education. The project is seeking the participation of community members such as individuals experiencing disability, educators, personal support workers, and advocates. Continue reading

How Autistic Individuals Have Helped Direct Cognitopia’s Development

Cognitopia’s development of self-management applications has been shaped by people with autism in ways both direct and indirect. From the beginning we have used a participatory design process whereby students and adults with autism work with us on design iteration and testing. For example, for the last five years, we’ve had a deep collaborative relationship with a local transition program serving students aged 18-21 with autism, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, and traumatic brain injury. Continue reading

The Order of Self-Determination Club in Arlington, VA Recipient of the First Annual James Keating Memorial Self-Determination Award

PRESS RELEASE

EUGENE, OR: FEB 10, 2020: Cognitopia, a small business focused on research and development of technology to support employment, education, and community living for youth and adults with cognitive disabilities, today announces that The Order of Self-Determination Club of Arlington Public Schools Office of Special Education is the recipient of the first annual James Keating Memorial Self-Determination Award. Continue reading

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

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

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.

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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

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

Empowering Students to Participate in their Own IEP Meetings

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

Routines App: Creating Custom Categories in Routines

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

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

How Cognitive Support Technology Is Empowering One Man with Autism

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

Using the My Life App in a College Environment

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