Increasing Workplace Independence for People with Cognitive Disabilities by Leveraging Distributed Cognition among Caregivers and Clients
This paper describes a group configuration that is currently employed to support the everyday living and working activities of people with cognitive disabilities. A client receiving face-to-face, often one-to-one, assistance from a dedicated human job coach is characteristic of this “traditional” configuration. We compare it with other group configurations that are used in cooperative and distributed work practices and propose an alternative configuration titled active distributed support system . In so doing, we highlight requirements that are unique to task support for people with cognitive disabilities. In particular, we assert that the knowledge of how to perform such activities is shared not only among people, but also between people and artifacts. There is a great potential for innovative uses of ubiquitous and mobile technologies to support these activities. A survey of technologies that have been developed to provide these individuals with greater levels of independence is then presented. These endeavors often attempt to replace human job coaches with computational cognitive aids. We discuss some limitations of such approaches and present a model and prototype that extends the computational job coach by incorporating human caregivers in a distributed one-to-many support system.