Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

, Volume 13, Issue 5–6, pp 443–470 | Cite as

Increasing Workplace Independence for People with Cognitive Disabilities by Leveraging Distributed Cognition among Caregivers and Clients

  • Stefan Carmien
  • Rogério DePaula
  • Andrew Gorman
  • Anja Kintsch


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.


active distributed support disabilities lifeline MAPS work group organization 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for LifeLong Learning and DesignUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.BoulderValley School DistrictUSA

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