AT Reuse and People with Cognitive Disabilities

ATIA 2009 Conference Session

Orlando, Florida

January 28-31, 2009



Session Title:

AT Reutilization and Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities – Experiences of the AT for Kansans Project




Sara Sack, Patty Black Moore and Sheila Simmons of Assistive Technology for Kansans, and Jessica Brodey, JMB Policy Consulting


Session Description:

This is a "lessons learned" perspective from the AT for Kansans project providing reutilized personal digital assistants (PDAs) to residents of Kansas with cognitive disabilities. The presentation will discuss the challenges faced along the way in developing and launching the program, and will discuss the benefits achieved for individuals with cognitive disabilities from the pilot project.


Session Objectives:

1. First Key Learning Point 

Reutilized PDAs can benefit the organizational and navigational needs of people with cognitive disabilities.

2. Second Key Learning Point 

The convergence of devices has made telecommunications devices suitable for reutilization in this manner.

3. Third Key Learning Point 

Repurposing old technologies can give new life to technologies for otherwise underserved populations.


Experience Level:



Session Format:

User Case Study (An intensive analysis of a real world experience. Should be given by a user or a user/vendor team.)


Presentation Outline:

a. Statement of the problem or issue: Individuals with cognitive disabilities face numerous challenges with respect to organization and navigation. Unfortunately, many technologies that can benefit these individuals are expensive and can be challenging to master. Each year, millions of people in the United States cast off PDAs in order to adopt the "newest and greatest" PDAs. Many of these devices are in perfect condition. The AT for Kansans project set out to determine whether old PDAs could be reutilized to address the organizational and navigational needs of individuals with cognitive disabilities at a lower cost and easier learning curve than acquiring new technology.

b. Description of activity, project, or solution: The AT for Kansans project acquired PDAs from several different sources, repurposed these devices and distributed them to individuals with cognitive disabilities to determine if these devices could assist these individuals in organizational and navigational concerns.

c. Outcomes: The AT for Kansans project learned many lessons about which devices are best for reutilization and how PDAs can benefit individuals with cognitive disabilities.

d. Importance or relevance to other organizations: These lessons can be applied to other AT Reutilization Projects across the country that are seeking to serve individuals with cognitive disabilities.


See attached presentation.



This work is supported under a five-year cooperative agreement # H235V060016 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and is administered by the Pass It On Center of the Georgia Department of Labor – Tools for Life.  However, the contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the Department of Education, or the Georgia Department of Labor, and you should not assume endorsements of this document by the Federal government or the Georgia Department of Labor.


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Other Information

Title: AT Reuse and People with Cognitive Disabilities
Module: User Services
Author: Sara Sack, Robin Black Moore, Sheila Simmons, Jessica Brodey
Audience: Implementer
Sub Title: ATIA 2009 Session
Organization Source: Assistive Technology for Kansans/ JMB Policy
Last Reviewed: 10-25-2009 6:43 PM