Date of Award

5-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

David F. Cihak

Committee Members

Tara P. Moore, Merilee McCurdy, Christopher Skinner

Abstract

The purpose of these two single subject design studies was to evaluate the use of the wearable and context-aware technologies for college students with intellectual disability and autism as tools to increase independence and vocational skills. There is a compelling need for the development of tools and strategies that will facilitate independence, self-sufficiency, and address poor outcomes in adulthood for students with disabilities. Technology is considered to be a great equalizer for people with disabilities. The proliferation of new technologies allows access to real-time, contextually-based information as a means to compensate for limitations in cognitive functioning and decrease the complexity of prerequisite skills for successful use of previous technologies. Six students participated in two single-subject design studies; three students participate in Study I and three different students participated in Study II. The results of these studies are discussed in the context applying new technology applications to assist and improve individuals with intellectual disability and autism to self-manage technological supports to learn new skills, set reminders, and enhance independence.

During Study I, students were successfully taught to use a wearable smartglasses device, which delivered digital auditory and visual information to complete three novel vocational tasks. The results indicated that all students learned all vocational task using the wearable device. Students also continued to use the device beyond the initial training phase to self-direct their learning and self-manage prompts for task completion as needed.

During Study II, students were successfully taught to use a wearable smartwatch device to enter novel appointments for the coming week, as well as complete the tasks associated with each appointment. The results indicated that all students were able to self-operate the wearable device to enter appointments, attend all appointments on-time and complete all associated tasks.

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