Personal Digital Assistants as Cognitive Aids for High School Students With Autism: Results of a Community-Based TrialBy Gentry, Tony; Wallace, Joseph; Kvarfordt, Connie; Lynch, Kathleen B.; Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, Vol. 32, pp. 101-107
Publication Date: 2010
Study examined the efficacy of personal digital assistants (PDAs) as task management tools in a sample of transition age high school students with autism. Participants comprised 22 high school students with autism ranging in age from 14 to 18 years, 4 of whom were female and all of whom exhibited difficulties in performing everyday tasks due to cognitive and behavioral problems. Participants were trained by an occupational therapist to use PDAs as task management tools and, along with their parents, completed self assessment of occupational performance using the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) before training and 8 weeks post training. At post-assessment, PDAs were examined for recorded appointments and other entries as evidence of participants’ usage, and the students were asked to demonstrate programming the PDA for reminder alarms and other functions as a measure of their retention of training. Eight weeks after completion of training, the group demonstrated statistically significant improvement on COPM occupational performance and satisfaction with occupational performance scores. All PDA calendars showed reminder alarms scheduled for each day of the week across the post training period, and all participants demonstrated the ability to respond to reminder alarms appropriately. Post training, 18 of the participants were able to program device software as trained, demonstrating retention of training and suggesting everyday use of the device. All participants attested to everyday device use and said that the device had improved their independence in performing functional activities.
Published by: IOS Press (Website:http://www.iospress.nl)