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A study shows that young people with intellectual disabilities become more involved and empowered when using a time and planning aid

 

MEMOplanner – a technical aid for cognitive support

 

A study published in the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities demonstrates the effect of using the MEMOplanner time and planning aid for cognitive support. The study was executed by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway. Participants in the study were seven young people between 18-40 years of age with moderate and severe Intellectual disabilities, as well as their staff at a group home in Norway.

 

The purpose of the study was to see how the use of MEMOplanner affected the structure, communication and interaction of the residents in daily life. Due to the residents' impaired verbal communication skills, data was collected via field observations of the residents in their daily activities and social interactions. Group interviews were conducted with the staff.

 

For some of the residents, the most important significance was the daily structure and predictability that they received from MEMOplanner. For other residents, the most important significance was the communication support and self-determination they received through MEMOplanner.

 

Predictability in daily life

 

  • The structure of picture support connected to a timeline that the residents received from MEMOplanner, which showed what, when, where and with whom something should happen, gave them a sense of predictability over their day.
  • The residents felt safer, more satisfied, and more relaxed.
  • MEMOplanner gave the residents support in remembering both what had happened and what would happen.

 

Involvement in communication

 

  • The use of MEMOplanner contributed to improved and increased communication skills.
  • The residents increased their vocabulary and their ability to use long sentences through the use of MEMOplanner. These abilities remained, even when they were not near their MEMOplanner.
  • Residents with more severe communication challenges also improved their communication skills by using the pictures on MEMOplanner to talk about what they wanted.

 

Self-determination

 

  • Using the pictures, text and the voice feature in MEMOplanner made it easier for the residents to express their opinions and practice self-determination in their daily lives.
  • Making choices was simplified - by pointing at pictures, the residents could choose what they wanted to buy, eat for dinner, and which leisure activity they wished to take part in.
  • The residents could show what they did and did not want to do when they saw pictures of the day's activities.

 

The article "How using assistive technology for cognitive impairments improves the participation and self-determination of young adults with intellectual developmental disabilities” can be found here:

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1744629519882582

 

More information about MEMOplanner here