|1970’s-1980’s||Marc Gold and others lead the way in promoting use of procedural task analysis documentation and training for teaching individuals with intellectual disabilities.||As deinstitutionalization took hold, individuals with intellectual disabilities increasingly received placement in community based residential settings. Shift coverage and staff turnover resulted in a lack of consistency when implementing training programs. For example, a resident with a goal of learning to make a bed could receive different instructions and standards from each different staff person involved in implementing the program. Residents often learned simply to please staff instead of the functional skill they were working on. The implementation of written, step-by-step task analysis allowed staff to implement skill training programs with a consistent set of instructions and cues, so residents could learn skills in and of themselves, reducing the bias of different individual trainers. The approach also provided an important format for integrating consistency and repetition during instructional processes.|
|Sept. 1993||Davies, PI, receives US Dept. of Education/ NIDRR funding for Picture Coach & Pocket Coach Phase I SBIR||Project Abstract: The proposed research will demonstrate the application of an integrated system of self-paced video and audio training for teaching vocational skills to moderate and lower functioning individuals with mental retardation. Long-term objectives are to develop PictureCoach, a self-paced video training device, and PocketCoach, a companion device to provide self-paced audio training. Specific aims for Phase I include prototype development and evaluation of this training system. The research focus is on field testing the PictureCoach and PocketCoach prototypes to assess their effectiveness for increasing worker productivity, improving quality, and reducing staff-time required to train and monitor client-employees. The PictureCoach prototype will be based on a video task training system developed by the researchers under a previously funded NIDRR project that has been used successfully to train individuals with mental retardation how to operate an automated-teller machine (ATM). The two prototypes will be field tested at a vocational training site.|
|March 1994||Picture Coach & Pocket Coach SBIR Phase I ends||The overall objectives
of Phase I were to establish the technical merit, feasibility of
use, and required functional features of the proposed multimedia
training system for teaching specific vocational skills to individuals
with mental retardation. This analysis addressed these research questions:
* Can multimedia training (video and audio) improve the productivity of individuals with mental retardation employed in a workshop setting?
* Can multimedia training allow individuals with mental retardation to learn more complex tasks than would otherwise be possible?
* Can multimedia training reduce the amount of direct staff time required to train and supervise an individual with mental retardation?
These objectives were accomplished by evaluating the effectiveness of using PictureCoach and PocketCoach to train adults with mental retardation how to perform a vocational task representative of the types of tasks commonly found in a workshop setting.
The basic PictureCoach concept is to provide a system that contains training instructions for a set of vocational tasks that are initially configured into the system by the vocational counselor or job coach. The counselor selects the type of training options that are appropriate for the trainee. Training options included are video and audio, audio only, and written instructions. Once the vocational task is selected, and the training options identified for the trainee, the trainee can take over operation of the system. One of the key design aspects that will be included in Phase II will be a user interface allowing the trainee to start the program, select the vocational task, and begin training. This approach would fully empower the individual to participate in multimedia training in a fully self-directed manner. The job coach would not have to set up the system before the user could sit down and begin learning a new task or continue previous training. Figure 3 shows the Main Menu as it appears when the system is started. All buttons are operated using a touch screen, allowing the user to simply touch the display to cause the desired action to occur. This method of direct manipulation has been found to be a very effective method for individuals with mental retardation to control a computer program (Davies, 1993; Davies, 1992).
|Sept. 1994||Davies, PI, receives US Dept. of Education/ NIDRR funding for Picture Coach & Pocket Coach Phase II SBIR||The proposed project will continue the development of the PictureCoach and PocketCoach systems. These systems provide an integrated multimedia system that utilizes self-paced video and audio training to teach vocational skills to individuals with mental retardation. PictureCoach is a PC-based training program that provides task instructions via self-directed video clips and audio messages. PocketCoach is a portable companion device that is used to play audio instructions while performing the vocational task. In Phase I the technical feasibility and utility of these devices were demonstrated. Operational prototypes of both the PictureCoach and PocketCoach devices were developed and then tested in a vocational setting. The effectiveness of the multimedia approach was assessed by comparing it to a traditional training approach. A total of 12 adults with mental retardation participated in this study. Trainees using the PictureCoach/ PocketCoach system performed the task significantly more accurately than those that were trained with the traditional approach (p. <.05). There was no difference between the two groups in the amount of help that was requested during the experiment. Phase II objectives are to develop fully functioning engineering prototypes for PictureCoach and for PocketCoach. In addition, full system requirements development, design, and testing will be performed. These two systems will be field tested in a variety of vocational settings to help determine their range of applicability.|
|March, 1995||Davies and Stock present paper on prompting technologies at CSUN||description|
|1995||Wehmeyer publishes survey results from pilot study of AT use by individuals with mental retardation.||Although assistive technology promises to provide people with mental retardation part of the support necessary of increased independence, integration and productivity in many areas, this pilot study’s results support the observation that this promise remains largely unfulfilled...Perhaps the most promising technological advances that could benefit people with mental retardation have been in the area of personal computers…. computers can enable people with mental retardation to be more independent.|
|August 1996||Picture Coach & Pocket Coach SBIR Phase II ends||
This summarizes the Phase II project tasks and activities. The purpose of Phase II was to develop a fully functioning PictureCoach software product as well as a fully functioning PocketCoach engineering prototype. The five project tasks were designed to accomplish these two goals. Figure 2 depicts the work breakdown structure for Phase II. Phase I focused on establishing the technical merit and feasibility of using the PictureCoach and PocketCoach multimedia tools to train adults with mental retardation in vocational skills. Therefore, the requirements development emphasis during Phase I was placed on the basic features related to vocational training using a multimedia approach. During Task 1 of Phase II the full set of requirements for the PictureCoach and PocketCoach systems were developed. During the requirements development phase the need to broaden the scope of the training system was identified. The results of field interviews indicated that the multimedia training approach was just as applicable to other training areas in addition to vocational training. Therefore, the Phase II project was expanded to result in PictureCoach and PocketCoach systems that could be used for residential as well as vocational training.
|Oct. 24, 1996||Commercial Release of PictureCoach and PocketCoach at the 1996 Closing the Gap Conference||PictureCoach‘ is
a multimedia vocational training and supported living program designed
for individuals with cognitive disabilities or hearing impairments.
The program is designed to allow the training tasks to be customized
by the end user to fit his or her particular needs. Pictures of each
step in a task, such as cooking meatloaf, can be integrated into
the system as well as audio instructions for each step. The system
can be operating by individuals with no reading or hearing ability.
Operation is very simple. The user starts the program by selecting
either his or her name or picture to get started. The categories
of training or supported living activities that have been identified
for the user are display. For example, a user may have pictures representing
Meal Preparation, House Cleaning, Person Care, Using Appliances,
and Preparing for Work. If it is time to start getting ready for
work, the user selects the picture associated with Preparing for
Work. Step-by-step instructions are then displayed, one at a time,
to guide the user through the process of getting ready for work.
The user must press a Done button after they have performed each
step before he or she can move on to the next step.
The power of PictureCoach comes in its ease of use by individuals with significant cognitive limitations and in its ability to be customized to fit the particular training or supported living needs of the individual with the disability. PictureCoach was developed through over two years of research funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
The system proven to be an excellent aid to individuals with disabilities and has reduced the cost of support from outside agencies. For example, a young women with moderate mental retardation in Denver Colorado was preparing to move out of her parents home for the first time. She did not have the ability to cook independently because she could not remember the specific steps to cook her meals. Her parents were determined to find a way for her to live with more independence than she would find in a traditional group home setting. MTC worked with her parent to customize PictureCoach to provide cooking, house cleaning, community access, and personal care. PictureCoach was successful in helping her perform residential daily living tasks, such as cooking, and reduced the cost of support from care givers by over 75%.
PictureCoach requires a computer running Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. It requires a Sound Blaster compatible sound card and a CD-ROM drive. A minimum of 8 megabytes of RAM and 20 megabytes of hard disk space is recommended. We are currently looking for distributors in the UK.
|Fall, 1996||Initial production run of PocketCoach sells out||description|
|Fall, 1996||First PictureCoach customer||From Phase II Final Report, Jan. 17, 1997: The situation included a 25 year old non-verbal woman with moderate mental retardation who lived in her own apartment with a non-service providing roommate. A Pentium computer was set up with PictureCoach in a spare closet, and a monitor with touch screen was mounted in her kitchen. The woman’s mother then populated the PictureCoach system with a series of pictures and audio prompts for a variety of cooking, cleaning and other daily living tasks. For example, 16 different meals were represented in the Meals section of the program, some with as many as 45 steps for one meal. The Housekeeping section of PictureCoach used actual pictures of her apartment and the appropriate cleaning equipment to guide her through the process of cleaning her entire apartment. The program also included sections for buying birthday cards, making social plans, and grocery shopping. The young woman’s parents report that with the PictureCoach system and family assistance, they were able to eliminate agency staff coverage in their daughter’s apartment. Two Denver network television stations did news segments on this beta site arrangement which aired a total of three separate times. The family has reported touring dozens of people through the apartment, and have since started a new small business (Visions for Independent Living) designed to set up similar systems for agencies and individuals utilizing the PictureCoach system.|
|1997||Mechling and Gast publish evidence of efficacy of using an existing aug comm system to provide self-promting on task completion||This study evaluates the use of a combination audio and visual prompting system to increase independent task completion by students with moderate intellectual disabilities. The prompting system involved the use of a currently available, electronic, augmentative communication device which employs the use of picture overlays and recorded speech for both visual and auditory prompting and feed-back to the listener. Four children, 10-13 years of age, diagnosed with moderate intellectual disabilities served as study participants. An A-B-A-B (withdrawal) design, replicated across two behaviors and four subjects, was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the auditory-picture prompting system on the number of steps of a chained task performed independently. Results indicate that a substantial difference in performance existed when the self-prompting device was used.|
|1997||Visions for Independent Living launches The Visions System, following successful implementation of PictureCoach||Based upon a successful
implementation of Picture Coach, Visions for Independent Living,
Inc. begins and creates the Visions System, a computer-based Voice
Prompting and Picture Prompting System. The system is marketed in
a full service format, where Visions staff provide value-added services
such as multimedia task development.
|Fall, 1997||Davies and Stock awarded Technology Transfer Award for PocketCoach||The Technology Transfer Award is presented by the Colorado Chapter of the Technology Transfer Society for successful commercialization of assistive technology products developed under Department of Education funded projects. Award specifically for Pocket Coach audio prompting device for individuals with cognitive disabilities.|
|May, 1998||AbleLink Empowerment Suite released||description|
|Sept. 1998||Davies, PI, receives US Dept. of Education/ NIDRR funding for Phase I Visual Assistant PDA-based project||The proposed research will demonstrate the application of an integrated system of self-paced video and audio training for teaching and maintaining community -based independent living skills to individuals with mental retardation. The long-term objective is to develop VisualAssistant, a self-paced, portable audio/video training program that operates on commercially available Handheld Personal Computers. Specific aims for Phase I include demonstrating the technical merit and feasibility of this approach to independent living training through development and field evaluation of a prototype system. The research focus is on field testing the VisualAssistant prototype to assess its effectiveness for increasing independence and reducing staff-time required in providing community-based training services. The VisualAssistant prototype will be based on technology developed under a previously funded NIDRR project that has been used successfully to train individuals with mental retardation on a variety of vocational, educational and daily living tasks. In that system, a task analysis model is used to provide video clips or digital pictures of a task being performed in its actual environment in a step-by-step, self-directed training process. The development of VisualAssistant prototype will be done so that it can be used on Palmtop Computers that use Windows CE as an operating system. This prototype will be field tested by having individuals with mental retardation perform a series of community-based tasks with the system.|
|1999||Furniss and Ward publish study on PDA prompting system for work support||Supported employment services have made open employment a meaningful option for persons with intellectual disabilities. To date, however, few people with more severe intellectual disabilities have benefited from these opportunities . Many such persons can, with systematic instruction, rapidly learn complex work tasks, but need long-term support to maintain an acceptable level of performance over time. We describe a new system, based on a `palmtop' computer, to assist people with severe intellectual disabilities to perform complex work tasks. Using the system, a worker with severe intellectual disabilities uses a radically simplified palmtop computer to access a series of pictorial instructions guiding him/her through the steps in a task. For users who may become distracted from job tasks, devices similar to a commercial radio-pager remind the user to request the next instruction after a pre-set time has expired since the previous instruction. Should the user not respond to the prompt, the job coach or supervisor receives a similar alert. We present data from a series of six single case experiments in which the system was evaluated in use by workers with severe intellectual disabilities in real work settings. The results show that the system supports higher levels of work accuracy and pace than simpler support systems such as booklets of picture instructions, and that the prompting capacity of the system is useful to workers who may become distracted from job tasks. In addition, the capacity of the system to deliver instructions in clusters tailored to the needs of the individual user increases the utility of the system for persons with varying support needs.|
|1999||Steed and Lutzker publish study on effectiveness of recorded audio prompting for task completion||This research was conducted to teach two adults with schizophrenia and mental retardation to respond to recorded audio prompts in order to eliminate the need for instructor assistance in completing routine prevocational tasks. Studying individuals with dual diagnosis is an important step in moving toward success in community living and vocational placement. A multiple probe design across tasks was conducted. Prior to the investigation, both individuals demonstrated low levels of independent task completion. Following the implementation of the audio prompts, both individuals' task completion performances dramatically increased. These findings suggest that audio prompts may serve as an efficient alternative to instructor promoting, which is often required by individuals with dual diagnosis in prevocational job settings.|
|1999||Under funding from the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., Foundation and in partnership with Assistive Technology Partners of Colorado, Davies, Stock and Bodine complete project to port Pocket Coach from dedicated hardware device to PDA platform||Davies, D.K. (2000). Research on the Effectiveness of Specific Assistive Technology to Create Independence: A Pocket PC and a Web Browser for People with Mental Retardation; Paper presented at The 2000 Kennedy Foundation Symposium on Mental Retardation, 8/2/2000.|
|March, 1999||Visual Assistant Phase I project ends||description|
|Davies, PI, receives US Dept. of Education/ NIDRR funding for Phase II Visual Assistant PDA-based project||Phase I of this SBIR project investigated the utility of Visual Assistant; a Windows CE based multimedia trainer for training specific community integration skills to individuals with mental retardation. During Phase I the system requirements were identified and a ”proof-of-concept” prototype of the Visual Assistant system was developed and tested. The results of the pilot study demonstrated strong support for the contention that using a multimedia training program on a Handheld PC can effectively enhance independence for adults with mental retardation in performing community-based vocational tasks. Use of the Visual Assistant prototype resulted in improved task accuracy and increased independence when compared to a traditional training approach for subjects that were trained on two community-based vocational tasks. These differences were statistically significant (p<.05). In this Phase II project we will build on the successful results of Phase I to 1) complete the Visual Assistant multimedia software program, 2) build a companion software application for the PC that helps manage the setup of the Visual Assistant training tasks, and 3) perform expanded field testing of the system to evaluate its applicability for a wide range of activities of daily living and levels of disability.|
|Davies, PI, receives US Dept. of Education/ NIDRR funding for Phase I Schedule Assistant||A significant barrier exists for individuals with cognitive limitations in the area of time management and adhering to a schedule. The ability to reliably perform tasks according to a schedule is a key to independent living , e.g. taking correct medications on time, and for maintaining employment, e.g. getting to work on time or knowing when to move on to the next task. People with mental retardation are often quite limited in time management skills. The proposed research will demonstrate the application of a portable device designed to increase independence and self-determination in time management for individuals with mental retardation. The long-term objective is to develop Schedule Assistant, a pocket-sized Windows CE based software system for providing automated schedule management support. The Schedule Assistant system will generate automated onscreen visual prompts using color pictures in combination with audio prompts using digitally recorded verbal messages in response to a time-based schedule of events to help the user maintain a schedule and perform time-sensitive vocational tasks. The research focus is on building and field testing a Schedule Assistant prototype to assess its effectiveness for improving independence in meeting time requirements in scheduled tasks, and reducing supervision requirements for individuals with mental retardation. The development effort for the Schedule Assistant prototype will be build on work done in developing Visual Assistant, a Windows CE based training tool for teaching community-based vocational tasks. In this project the Schedule Assistant requirements will be identified, followed by development of a software prototype that can be used to test the Schedule Assistant concept in the Phase I pilot test.|
|2000||Lancioni, et. al., publish one of a series of articles demonstrating increased effectiveness and user preference of computer based prompting system over cue cards||This study involved two experiments. In Experiment 1, a computer-aided system for promoting task performance by 6 persons with severe developmental disabilities was compared with a card system. The computer-aided system was portable and presented pictorial task instructions (one instruction per step) and prompts. In Experiment 2, the same system was used, but the number of instruction occasions was reduced. In one condition, the system presented all the instructions used in Experiment 1 but mostly in clusters rather than individually. In another, the system presented part of the Experiment 1 instructions. Three Experiment 1 participants also served in Experiment 2. Experiment 1 results indicated all 6 participants had higher percentages of correct steps with the computer system and preferred it to the card system. Experiment 2 results indicated that the condition in which the instructions were clustered was more effective for maintaining correct task performance. Implications of the findings were discussed.|
|Schedule Assistant Phase I project ends||The results of
Subtask 1.1 were used to define the initial set of system requirements,
which were subsequently documented in the Schedule Assistant System
Requirements Specification in Subtask 1.2. This document includes
information on the emerging interface and performance requirements
of the system. It is by nature a continuously evolving document that
will continue to be revised as development continues in Phase II.
As controlled testing and field evaluation activities proceeded as
described in the subtasks below, the Requirements Specification was
updated to reflect new findings from these activities. For example,
several different interface options for playing back messages were
Key requirements/ options for the Schedule Assistant prototype system include:
- Instant playback of an audio prompt one time at the prescribed time;
- Instant playback of an audio prompt multiple times, with the requirement for the user to press an on-screen "Done" button to indicate the task was completed;
- Providing an initial system sound, such as a chime or "ding", followed by the user pressing the on-screen button to activate the audio prompt;
- Providing an initial system sound to alert the user to the need to press the on-screen button to activate the message, with an option to replay the same message as needed;
- Providing an initial system sound to alert the user to the need to press the on-screen button to activate the message, and requiring the user to press a different on-screen "Done" button to indicate task completion.
- The system must be capable of being used effectively by individuals with little or no reading ability.
- The system must coordinate audio instructions with task pictures to provide effective cues for each scheduled activity.
- The system must be capable of being used in various settings in the community including community work settings, public buildings, and on buses.
- The Schedule Assistant system must be capable of being operated independently by individuals with various levels of mental retardation.
|MAPS Project begins||Individuals with cognitive disabilities are often unable to live independently due to their inability to perform daily tasks. Computationally enhanced dynamic prompting systems can mitigate this inability. Poor user interfaces, however, drive high levels of assistive technology abandonment by this population. To address this issue, MAPS (Memory Aiding Prompting System) provides an effective prompting system with an intuitive interface for configuration. User modeling techniques facilitate simple and effective prompting scripts for individual user needs.|
|Sept. 2000||Davies, PI, receives US Dept. of Education/ NIDRR funding for Phase II Schedule Assistant||Portable computer technology offers promising new approaches to reducing dependence on others for individuals with mental retardation. Phase I of this SBIR project investigated the utility of Schedule Assistant; a Windows CE based portable schedule prompting system designed to increase independence and self-determination in time management for individuals with mental retardation. During Phase I the system requirements were identified and a ”proof-of-concept” prototype of the Schedule Assistant system was developed and tested. The results of the pilot study demonstrated strong support for the contention that a Palmtop PC can effectively enhance independence for adults with mental retardation in personal scheduling and time management. Use of the Schedule Assistant prototype resulted in improved schedule accuracy and increased independence when compared to a traditional scheduling approach for 12 subjects when performing a scheduled series of vocational and independent living tasks. These differences were statistically significant (p<.05). In Phase II we will build on the successful Phase I results to 1) complete the Schedule Assistant prompting system, 2) build a companion desktop software utility to help setup and manage multiple Schedule Assistant schedules, and 3) perform expanded field testing of the system to evaluate its applicability for a wide range of activities of daily living and levels of disability.|
|2001||Norman, Collins and Schuster publish results of video prompting for providing successful cueing on task analysis||This study investigated the effectiveness of a treatment package that included video technology (e.g., video modeling and video prompting) to teach three self-help skills (e.g., cleaning sunglasses, putting on a wrist watch, and zipping a jacket) to 3 elementary school students with mental disabilities in a small group setting. Using a constant time delay (CTD) procedure, observers measured the percentage of steps of the task analyses performed correctly before and after a video model prompt. A multiple probe design across behaviors, replicated across participants, demonstrated experimental control. The results indicate that an instructional package that includes video technology can be an effective method for teaching self-help skills to students with mental disabilities.|
|2001||Furniss, et. al. publish findings from VICAID research project||The development of technologies to assist people with severe and profound developmental disabilities to engage in constructive activity without constant support from carers may assist such persons to participate fully in vocational and other occupational activities. We describe the development, evaluation and use of VICAID, a system based on a radically simplified palmtop computer. The VICAID system enables a person with a developmental disability to access pictorial instructions designed to help him or her in the accurate completion of tasks. It also provides reminders to access the instructions, and/or alerts a job coach or supervisor should the worker's interaction with the system suggest that they are having difficulty with a task. Evaluative studies show that (1) the system is more effective than alternative supports (pictorial instructions presented in booklets) in maintaining accurate task performance, (2) that the system is preferred to such booklets by most users with severe disabilities, and (3) that it can be used in real work settings. Future development of the system will require attention to be paid to issues of training job-coaches and support workers in its setting-up and maintenance.|
|Visual Assistant Phase II project ends||Davies and Stock (2001). Visual Assistant: A Portable Multimedia Training System for Community-Based Skill Development for Individuals with Mental Retardation, Phase II Final Report submitted to US Dept. of Education, August 31, 2001.|
|Davies, PI, receives US Dept. of Education/ NIDRR funding for Phase I Pocket Compass project||Difficulty with decision making negatively impacts an individual’s ability to achieve greater levels of independence and self-determination in many areas of life and thus can significantly impact overall quality of life. Of the various disabling conditions that can impact one's independence and quality of life, those affecting intellectual functioning are among the most likely to restrict opportunities for self-determination and decision making in each of the areas listed above. Thus, there is a need for supports that can assist individuals with intellectual disabilities with making appropriate decisions in all life contexts. The proposed project is designed to develop and evaluate Pocket Compass, a portable software system that utilizes an expert-system based approach combined with intelligent audio and visual cues to help individuals with mental retardation navigate through the cognitive process of making appropriate decisions in various community settings where there is reasonable predictability of available choices. Research activities are proposed to: 1) determine the user interface, technical and functional requirements of the system; 2) to design and build a software prototype; and 3) to conduct a pilot study to evaluate the utility of the system for improving independence and self-determination in decision making for adults with mental retardation.|
|June, 2002||Davies, Stock and Wehmeyer publish results of study implementing PDA based audio and picture cues for vocational task support||Abstract: Computer technology offers promising new approaches to reducing the dependence of people with mental retardation on others. This article reports results of a beta test of the utility of a Windows CE based multimedia palmtop computer program (Visual Assistant) for use in supporting individuals with mental retardation to more independently complete community-referenced vocational skills. Project personnel identified system requirements that would be required to accommodate the needs of people with mental retardation, and then developed and tested a “proof-of-concept” prototype of the Visual Assistant system. Results from the beta test demonstrated support for using a multimedia training program on a palmtop PC to enhance self-direction of adults with mental retardation in performing community-based vocational tasks. Use of the Visual Assistant prototype resulted in improved task accuracy and decreased use of external prompts from a support person on two different vocational tasks. Implications for use of palmtop and handheld PC technology to increase the independence and self-determination of individuals with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities is considered.|
|Pocket Compass Phase I project ends||During the first
two months of the project a number of activities were conducted to
research the topic of decision making for individuals with mental
retardation and to define the initial requirements for the Pocket
Compass system. In addition to library and Internet research, we
conducted field interviews with individuals with mental retardation,
parents, special education teachers, and other professionals to help
identify issues relevant to decision making specifically for individuals
with mental retardation. In addition, we presented the Pocket Compass
concept at a number of regional and national conferences to get additional
feedback about the system concept. The list on the following page
summarizes some of the key activities performed in Task 1.
- AbleLink has recently completed a Phase II SBIR in which Visual Assistant, a Pocket PC based task-prompting system for individuals with mental retardation, was developed. In addition, AbleLink currently is in the second year of a Phase II project in which we are building a Pocket PC based scheduling program called Schedule Assistant. One of the first tasks in this project was to determine how the Pocket Compass system will interact with these other applications. In addition, AbleLink’s other Pocket PC related Phase I project involves the development of Pocket Voyager, a system for enabling individuals with mental retardation to utilize multiple programs on a Pocket PC effectively. We specified requirements for the Pocket Compass system that would ensure its compatibility with these other Pocket PC applications for individuals with mental retardation.
-The Windows CE operating system was upgraded to the Pocket PC 2002 version during the Phase I project. As a result, our requirements included the need to run the resulting system on units running the latest version of the operating system as well as the previous version to maximize the number of platforms that can run the Pocket Compass software.
- Reviewed literature related to computer use by individuals with mental retardation, with specific attention to any instances of portable computer use. This review also included research into current and emerging uses of portable computers by mainstream users, particularly for executive function process uses, such as scheduling and information management.
- Conducted a session titled “Work, School and Home – Ten Years of Technology Development for Individuals with Mental Retardation” at the 2001 Developmental Disabilities Community Conference in Colorado Springs, CO on October 4, 2001. At this presentation we introduced the Pocket Compass project concept and solicited feedback from the audience for settings in which the Pocket Compass system may be beneficial. Much of the focus of the discussion was on uses of the system to aid an individual in accomplishing more complex tasks at work.
- Conducted a session at the DCDT International Conference 2001—“Transition: Exploring New Frontiers” in Denver, CO on October 12, 2001. This conference is sponsored by the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition, and the session was titled “Palmtop Computer Software for Supported Employment.” The presentation included a discussion on Pocket Compass as well as several of AbleLink’s other research and development projects involving palmtop computer applications for individuals with mental retardation.
- Conducted a session and maintained an exhibit booth at “The Fifth Annual Rocky Mountain Collaborative Conference: Achieving New Heights with Assistive Technology” in Denver, CO on November 2, 2001. This conference was a collaborative effort between state Tech Act agencies in Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The session included discussion on Pocket Compass as well as several of AbleLink’s other research and development projects involving palmtop computer applications for individuals with mental retardation.
-Held consultations with Dr. Michael Wehmeyer, project consultant, to provide him with ongoing information about the project and to discuss issues important to decision making for individuals with mental retardation. Dr. Wehmeyer is Associate Director of the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas. Three subtasks were conducted as part of Task 2 which resulted in the prototype Pocket Compass application used in the pilot study to test the effectiveness of the decision aiding system. These included 1) a design stage, 2) prototype development and 3) internal testing to ensure that the prototype was ready for use by end users in the pilot study. In this section, our focus is on presenting the Pocket Compass Phase I design to help the reader understand the system that was used in the pilot study. This is the design that resulted from the Task 2 effort.
|Schedule Assistant Phase II project ends||description|
|2003||Davies, Stock and Wehmeyer publish results of task prompting research to facilitate decision making||description|
|2003||Bill Gates awards AbleLink's Visual Assistant with Best Home & Education Application for Pocket PC at the Microsoft® Mobile Solutions Challenge (2003), Bill Gates said “It's truly an exciting time for mobile application developers and the industry -- there are incredible opportunities." 2003||Bill Gates notes “It's truly an exciting time for mobile application developers and the industry -- there are incredible opportunities."|
|Oct., 2004||AbleLink Instructional Media Standard (AIMS) public release||After ten years of research and development in the area of prompting devices for individuals with intellectual and other cognitive disabilities, Ablelink has developed and released a standard XML protocol for how multimedia instructional prompts are structured. The core AIMS technology was funding through the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and introduced at the Coleman Institute's Fifth Annual Conference on Cognitive Technologies: "Enhancing the Quality of Life for People with Cognitive Disabilities through Technology.”|
|April, 2005||AIMS Task BuilderTM application public release||AIMS Task Builder is a software application provided free of charge by AbleLink Technologies that provides a graphical interface for creating AIMS compatible multimedia task prompting scripts for playback in any AIMS compliant desktop or handheld PC player. Multimedia task prompting elements may include custom images and symbols, custom audio prompts, custom audio feedback, video clips, custom text strings, an unlimited number of steps, decision points/branching with multiple paths of instructional media, multiple modes of play, and custom timing to move from one step to the next or to initiate additional cues. AIMS Task Builder is designed for the creation of instructional media for specific individuals, and is available to any registered AIMS user and/or developer wishing to create instructional media for use in any AIMS compliant player. AIMS Task Builder is also available at no charge to companies and organizations who want to create pre-built instructional media for resale. Registration is available at no charge online or via a printed form|