Emerging Technologies and Cognitive DisabilityBy Braddock, David; Rizzolo, Mary C.; Thompson, Micah; Bell, Rodney; Journal of Special Education Technology, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 49-56
Publication Date: Fall 2004
Article discusses a variety of technological advances that have implications to improve quality of life for people with cognitive disabilities. Three types of assisted devices are discussed: (1) personal support devices such as personal digital assistants (PDA), computer assisted learning and communication program and devices, and universally designed applications; (2) assisted care systems technology, such as smart houses, smart transportation and tracking technology, and personal robots; and (3) virtual technologies. A PDA or desktop software can be programmed with educational, vocational, or daily living tasks to help people with cognitive disabilities to perform a wide range of independent living and work-related tasks, while support programs such as computer training programs, voice interfaces, picture-based e-mail programs, and adapted web browsers such as Webtrek can provide much needed assistance. An example is a wearable glove that was developed by an engineering student at the University of Colorado that translates American Sign Language and transmits the information to an electronic display. Universal design principles can be used to ensure that mainstream products are accessible to people with disabilities, as software and computer devices can provide accessible access interfaces. Assisted care systems such as smart homes combine tracking technology and environmental control to provide environmental cues, which include simplified operation of household items. Smart transportation systems can help people with cognitive disabilities in traveling situations by utilizing wireless technologies, global positioning system technology, and PDAs. Personal robots can also supplement services provided by a caregiver, as researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh developed the Nursebot to assist older people with cognitive disabilities with medication administration and other activities of daily living. Virtual technologies are used to simulate actual experiences in an artificial environment, and can help to promote the participation of people with cognitive disabilities in educational and community activities. Barriers to the commercialization of such technologies are discussed.
Published by: Exceptional Innovations (Website:http://www.exinn.net)
Technology and Media Division (TAM) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) (Web Site: http://www.tamcec.org )
This publication is included in the library of the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), accession number J48744