This section is directed to rehabilitation clinicians and assistive technology professionals whose services may be called upon if an individual with a cognitive disability plans to, or wishes to either enter the work force or return to work or school.
If you are called upon to make recommendations to educators, state Vocational Rehabilitation agency counselors or others, we would like to encourage you to embrace the role of team leader, keeping in mind that those who seek your services may or may not be aware of some of the factors that you have expertise with, namely:
- The importance of compensatory skills training.
- The role of technical support following acquisition of Assistive Technology.
- The value of focusing on consumers’ residual cognitive strengths such as use of visual cues and procedural memory.
- Useful “low tech” assistive technologies you are in a position to share (for example, the use of STEPS cue cards as the consumer learns to use recommended technology).
The team approach may be new to your agency or the agencies you work with. Contact us if you want to learn more about the new paradigm we support in this regard.
The following is intended for family members, individuals with cognitive challenges or others who are not familiar with the role professionals often play in the process.
SLPs and OTs, etc.
A Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) or Occupational Therapist (OT) may be asked to provide cognitive therapy, with or without assistive technology for cognition (ATC). They may be asked to conduct work assessments, assistive technology assessments, or make recommendations for cognitive or occupational therapy and assistive technology. And they may also be asked to provide training in the use of recommended technology. In some cases, they may be asked to provide technical support.
They may asked to offer recommendations about the kind of work or level of work that is best suited for an individual. Requests for their services can come from treating physicians, neuropsychologists, vocational rehabilitation providers, family members or patients. The team “configuration” varies widely. If a neuropsychologist is part of the team, they can be called upon to do neuropsychological assessments.
If you are a consulting ATP (Assistive Technology Professional) with experience in ATC (Assistive Technology for Cognition), you are also in a key position to make recommendations for assistive technology (AT), skills training and technical support. Ideally, you will have direct experience working with individuals with cognitive disabilities.
Assistive Technology for Cognition
The field, as a specialty, is relatively new and not tightly structured. In an ideal world, a team approach would be used so that the individual being served would have access to the therapy, technology, compensatory cognitive skills training and technical support they need to be successful long-term. Click here to see a handbook on the topic.
Professionals with experience in ATC can play an important role leading the team. As technology continues to expand, their role in this regard is expected to expand, as well.
Creating a Team
Because we do not live in an ideal world, the best we may be able to do is approach th ideal by assembling an appropriate team with the resources available to us. In our view, the goal can be approached, and sometimes reached, if answers to key questions are sought. Click here for a list of key questions.
In our experience the journey starts with an understanding of the depth and breadth of an individual’s challenges. We offer the “Challenges Checklist” as a beginning point.
If the breadth and depth of a person’s challenges warrant consideration of specialized assistive technology, we offer the My Bionic Brain® “Screening Tool.” If not, technologies that are not designed specifically for individuals with cognitive disabilities should be considered – including a variety of “low-tech” options.
If you would like to discuss the needs of a particular patient or client whose cognitive needs are broad and deep, feel free to contact My Bionic Brain® creator, Kathy Moeller, to schedule a live, on-line demonstration of My Bionic Brain®. And if it looks like a less intensive solution may be appropriate, please contact consulting speech pathologist, Doreen (Dodie) Newman.