Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Dr. George Haus


This study examined the effectiveness of a hand-held computer to guide an individual with a moderate cognitive impairment as he or she completed a complex daily living task. Performance was compared with that occasioned by a human supervisor. A third condition, assistance first from a human supervisor, and then by the computerized orthotic, was also evaluated. The task selected was a baking task.

Subjects were nine students, ranging in age from 17 to 24 years. All subjects were classified as cognitively impaired according to the Michigan Special Education Rules and Regulations. Assessment information showed most to be performing at a moderate level of mental retardation. All attended a school for students with moderate and severe cognitive disabilities. The nine subjects averaged 21 years of age. Intelligence test scores averaged 52. Reading achievement test scores showed the group to have an average of first grade reading skills. Three subjects were assisted in the baking project by a human supervisor. Three were assisted via the computerized cognitive orthotic. Three initially completed three sessions with human supervisor assistance. They then completed three more sessions with the assistance of the cognitive orthotic.

Data were evaluated descriptively. Interpretation of the data suggested that the hand-held computerized cognitive orthotic occasioned performance similar to that seen with a human supervisor. The computerized cognitive orthotic also maintained performance after training and supervision by a human supervisor.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access