RESNA Standards Committee on Cognitive Accessibilities (CA)

Chair: Seanna Kringen
Beneficial Designs, Inc.
Vice Chair: Greg McGrew
Assistive Technology Partners
Secretary: Stefan Carmien
University of York

These standards affect people with cognitive impairment, their family members, their caregivers and educators, and the manufacturers of technology products they use in daily living. The standards are specifically designed to help people who have cognitive impairment from conditions such as: Alzheimer’s, attention disorder, brain injury, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, learning disability, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. People at different stages of development, such as children and those of us who are growing older, as well as those who have difficulty communicating or who speak different languages, will also benefit from universal design guidelines for cognitive technologies. Improved devices will significantly aid families and caretakers of individuals with cognitive impairment, primarily by giving people with cognitive impairment greater independence. Individuals with cognitive impairment, their family members, clinicians, educators, and related researchers are all encouraged to work with industry and government agencies (such as the U.S. Department of Education) in the committee’s work.

Work Program: 

The standards for ease-of-use evaluations and rating systems for a wide array of personal devices will include:

  • Assistive technologies such as screen readers and communication devices
  • Consumer technologies such as cell phones, laptops, and digital music players
  • Internet resources such as email, social networking, and popular sites
  • Household appliances such as microwaves and smoke alarms.

The standard will establish requirements for the universal design of software, hardware, internet, household, communication, and entertainment products used by people with cognitive impairment. It is intended to increase access to a variety of products. The standard will not purport to address the needs of every possible user and recognizes that access will not be possible for all individuals. Designers shall use this guideline in conjunction with any existing standards and accompanying test methods for their products.