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Re: looking for examples of cognitive disability and technology


From: Jan Heck
Date: Apr 9, 2009 12:20PM

Catherine, you and all the members of this list may be interested in the

There is an excellent project that focuses on learning to use a PDA or
"pocket PC" to help individuals with cognitive disabilities (including those
with acquired brain injuries). You can find more info at
http://pda4memory.com/. Here's some info from the home page:


Making Cognitive Connections for Brain Injury Survivors

Memory Compensation Using the Pocket PC: Making Cognitive Connections for
Brain Injury Survivors (Windows Mobile 5 version) is the first in a series
of books and training materials designed specifically for use by brain
injury survivors. Survivors of acquired brain injuries (ABI), also known as
traumatic brain injuries (TBI), typically experience struggles with memory
and cognitive skills which affect their daily functioning, their
relationships and their self-esteem. One brain injury survivor who used the
book in conjunction with a PDA workshop offered through Coastline Community
College had the following comment:

The Pocket PC has been a transformative tool in my life. It has
strengthened my ability to be independent, efficient, and productive. It has
given me hope and a concrete vehicle with which to create a new fulfilling
and fruitful future for myself.

How Did the Project Come to Be?

Memory Compensation Using the Pocket PC: Making Cognitive Connections for
Brain Injury Survivors (Windows Mobile 5 version) was created by two
individuals with over 40 years combined experience working with brain injury
survivors. Initially, the PDA was used with students from the Coastline
Community College Acquired Brain Injury Program who suffered from severe
memory deficits. The students successfully learned to use the PDA as a
memory/cognitive prosthetic. We soon found the PDA training could open up
opportunities for students to work on a wide array of other cognitive
skills. Given students' natural interest in memory, we realized there is no
better context for cognitive retraining than within memory compensation
training itself, especially if we provide a cognitive connection to their
own real-life experience. Coastline's ABI Program has implemented the PDA
and book into its daily curriculum with great success and, in 2007, adopted
the Pharos 535+ GPS/PDA as the device of choice.

What Makes this Series of Books and Training Materials Different?

Unlike a typical memory workbook or PDA manual, which many users find
frustrating and technical, this book is much more than a reference source;
it is consciously structured to be a learning tool for adults with ABI. For
each PDA function, users will:

* Read about what it is and how to do it;
* Follow steps to perform that function on the PDA;
* Make the cognitive connection by learning what cognitive skills are
being used to perform the task; and
* Identify real-life examples from outside the realm of the PDA which
require use of the same cognitive skill.

Our book is unique because it goes beyond the traditional memory workbook or
PDA training manual. It teaches how to use a PDA by focusing on the
cognitive skills (attention to detail, sequencing, etc.) required to
successfully learn the PDA, and then has the user apply those same cognitive
skills to their everyday lives.

We use the PDA (i.e., Pocket PC) training, applied in particular to
memory compensation techniques, as a relevant, real-life activity. Not only
do we teach you how to use the PDA, but we also provide structured exercises
to help you make cognitive connections between what you are learning to do
with the PDA and your life. So we are simultaneously providing general
cognitive stimulation, attempting to build specific new neural pathways,
preparing you to apply what you are learning to real life, and teaching you
a highly effective memory compensation strategy.


-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of catherine
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 4:40 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] looking for examples of cognitive disability and


In the process of preparing a presentation I will be giving in May, I am
looking for examples of people with various disabilities and their use
of technology. I have examples for visual, auditive and motor
disabilities (though would welcome any other resources). For example,
here in Qu├ębec, members of the Deaf community have created Espace
FrancoSourd[1], which is a Facebook type network with various features,
set up by deaf people.

Unfortunately, I am having trouble finding examples of projects for
people with cognitive disabilities. While there is a lot of material out
there on how to make the Web more accessible to this particular
community, there does not seem to be anything in terms of interesting
projects or concrete examples where people with cognitive disabilities
use technology.

Any feedback would be appreciated.


[1] www.francosourd.com

Catherine Roy