Cognitive Technologies: Preparing for the ATP Exam

Cognitive Technologies: Preparing for the ATP Exam
Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
September 26, 2016

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Michelle: Welcome to today's course on cognitive technologies. This is part of a series of courses helping you to prepare for the ATP examination. Within this course, we will be covering definitions such as what are cognitive disabilities and what are some of the cognitive technologies that we can bring to the table to assist these clients. We are also going to go over strategies to address distraction, memory loss, organization, and task completion. We will also look at safety and security as these are important issues for people with cognitive disabilities, and we can bring strategies to the client to address these areas of need. We will wrap up with a quick discussion of learning disabilities.

Assistive Technology Professional Certification

Now, our goal here is to cover this information in the context of preparing for the ATP Certification Examination. This certification is offered through RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America. This is a professional organization, and they offer several different certifications. This particular one is designed to demonstrate a basic level of competence in the practice area of assistive technology. Over 4,000 people hold this certification right now. This series of courses includes information to help prepare you for the exam. This series is not designed to be an exhaustive coverage of this topic of cognitive impairments and technologies to meet those needs, but rather an overview so that you are aware of this information. If you are interested in this certification, there are certain prerequisites that you must also fulfill before taking the exam. You must complete 1,000 hours of work experience over a six year period of time. More specific eligibility requirements are listed on this site.

Definitions

Cognition

Cognition is the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge understanding through thought, experience, and the senses (Wikipedia). Knowledge and understanding are two different things. A person with a cognitive disability is going to have greater difficulty with one or more types of mental tasks than other people. These challenges can be separated into clinical disabilities, and functional disabilities.
 
Clinical disabilities, where we can see some level of cognitive impairment, include autism, down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, dementia, attention deficit disorder, and learning disabilities (Figure 1).
 
Figure 1. Examples of clinical disabilities.
 
Does this mean that in each one of these particular clinical disabilities, there is cognitive impairment? This is not always the case, and it depends how you define cognitive impairment. For example, someone with dyslexia, a learning disability, may have average to above average intelligence, but they still have learning disabilities which are categorized as a cognitive impairment.
 
Functional disabilities affect our capacity to think, to concentrate, react to emotions that we are feeling, formulate ideas, problem solve, reason, and remember (Figure 2).
 
Figure 2. Functional disability components.
 
These are all very specific, functional areas that are impacted cognitively. I believe that all of us are on a spectrum in terms of cognitive skills. We all have strengths, and we all have weaknesses. As such, we tend to use strategies on our own, sometimes without really being aware of it, to help us deal with some of those weaker areas. Our clients also need strategies to help them to address these issues, but they may lack the ability to come up with these strategies on their own. You or I might decide we need a list to go to the grocery store, but that requires us to formulate that idea. We need to identify where the gaps are for our clients and help them to identify strategies.

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michelle lange

Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS

Michelle is an occupational therapist with 25 years of experience and former Clinical Director of The Assistive Technology Clinics of The Children’s Hospital of Denver. She is a well-respected lecturer, both nationally and internationally and has authored 7 book chapters and over 175 articles. She is the editor of Fundamentals in Assistive Technology, 4th ed. Michelle is on the teaching faculty of RESNA and the University of Pittsburgh. She is on the RERC on Wheeled Mobility Advisory Board. Michelle is a credentialed ATP, credentialed SMS and is a Senior Disability Analyst of the ABDA.



Related Courses

Dependent Mobility
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
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Dependent mobility devices are not designed for self-propulsion. These include adaptive strollers, transport chairs, tilt in space manual wheelchairs, reclining manual wheelchairs and standard manual wheelchairs. For very small children, adaptive strollers are often required to meet positional and dependent mobility needs. Other dependent mobility bases, such as transport chairs and standard wheelchairs, are used for quick trips or for temporary use. Clients may also use a dependent mobility base as a back-up to a power wheelchair.

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Most manual wheelchairs are designed for self-propulsion. A number of categories are available, however, including Standard, Standard Hemi, Lightweight, Ultra Lightweight, Pediatric, Bariatric and specialty frames. This course will systematically explore each category with clinical indicators, as well as optimal frame configuration to increase propulsion efficiency and reduce risk of repetitive stress injury.

Power Mobility
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This course will present power mobility options for those unable to self-propel a manual wheelchair. Mobility options include scooters and power wheelchairs. When recommending a power wheelchair, the clinician must determine readiness, seating, driving method, power seating and other features. This course will present various options with clinical indicators.

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This course will present a hierarchy of computer and tablet access options for clients unable to use a standard access. Access assessment requires analysis of physical access, vision, cognition and functional applications. Alternative keyboards and mice will be presented, as well as other alternative access options.

Wheelchair Seating Assessment
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
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This course was part of our Wheelchair Seating- Back to the Basics Virtual Conference. Occupational and physical therapists are often key members of the wheelchair seating evaluation team. Seating assessment includes evaluation of current posture and equipment, a mat examination and equipment recommendations. This course will review this assessment process.

This course is part of the "Wheelchair Seating Back To The Basics Virtual Conference".