Research Goals

Our collaborative research project seeks to answer the following six research questions:

  1. What are the individual and environmental factors that affect email use by persons with cognitive disabilities?
  2. What supports/modifications to software/hardware are needed to permit independent use of email by this population?
  3. Does the ability to send email to selected friends and family reduce feelings of isolation in persons with cognitive disabilities?
  4. Are there other psychosocial or cognitive effects of sustained email use?
  5. Does the evaluation of environmental factors and individual skills/behaviors provide sufficient information to identify needed supports?
  6. How should manuals and software be designed to facilitate training of email users with cognitive disabilities by care-providers and practitioners?

The projected outcome of this project is three specific products: 1) a "cyberevaluation" or diagnostic protocol to identify the supports needed for an individual with cognitive disability to engage in email; 2) a set of software email tools that can adapt email to the needs of individual users; and 3) a virtual clinic that allow cognitive rehabilitation professionals to utilize the materials with clients that have potential to benefit from email access.