Commonwealth Consortium on Handheld Technology Virginia Commonwealth University
Since receiving a community services grant from CNI in January 2003, our project has provided handheld computers and community-based training in their use to more than 60 individuals with acquired brain injury or an autism spectrum disorder across the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have provided more than thirty workshops and presentations, built an interactive, informational website, consulted with consumers and service providers nationally and internationally, and have begun development of cognitive disability software for handheld computers. We continue to forge partnerships in building a nationally-recognized center of assistive technology for cognition here in Virginia.
- 36 individuals with acquired brain injury have been trained in the use of portable computers as cognitive prosthetics, and provided with their own devices;
- 27 individuals with an autism spectrum disorder have been trained in the use of portable computers as cognitive prosthetics, and provided with their own devices;
- Outcome measures show statistically significant improvements in performance and satisfaction with everyday functional tasks for these groups, along with improved medication compliance, independence in work and school settings and a reduced need for supervision.
- One year after introduction of a handheld computer, 22 of the first 24 project participants who completed training are still using them.
- Teaching rehabilitation providers and educators about this innovative use of computer technology is an important part of our mission. Accordingly, we have delivered 36 presentations to consumer groups, service providers, rehabilitation centers, schools, and statewide and national conferences.
- Our website (www.vcu.edu/partnership/pda ) is an interactive source for information about all we’ve learned from this project. We are completing an online tutorial for consumers in how to use handheld computers as cognitive aids.
- We are developing a Palm OS-based software that will allow users to customize and access their own behavioral management cues and strategies as needed.
- A second CNI grant is allowing the team to partner with DRS and VATS in trialing a pda-based job coaching intervention for individuals with cognitive disability. We expect to provide this service to 25 participants during the next year.
Principal Investigator: Joseph Wallace, PhD