For over 25 years, Tom Keating has worked on developing technology to improve the capabilities of people with cognitive disabilities. This has ultimately led to the development of the Cognitopia Platform for Self-Determination, which fosters greater independence and better support.
In many ways, Cognitopia began when Tom became a primary caregiver for his brother James who experienced autism (read more in this story). James moved from their parents’ home in New York to live with Tom and another brother, Francis, in Eugene, Oregon in 1981.
This experience led Tom to obtain a M.A. in Special Education (1984) and a Ph.D. in Special Education and Rehabilitation (1993) from the University of Oregon. Since that time, he went on to secure over $12 million in federal monies from 31 grant-funded projects to support the research and development of self-management applications that led to Cognitopia.
Tom is currently a board member with the customized employment provider, Alternative Work Concepts (2017-present) and affordable housing non-profit developer Mainstream Housing (2012-present). He was also on the board of Oregon Community Support Brokerage during the time he was a sibling caregiver for James from 1999 to 2011.
Cognitopia continues to develop innovative applications to help people with cognitive disabilities, families, educators, and support staff and is dedicated to scaling its impact across the United States and beyond.
Julie Henning has been with Cognitopia since 2015. In that time, she has been involved in customer support, training, marketing, documentation, social media, and data collection. Some of her favorite projects have been mentoring our videographer intern, Nate, and weekly classroom testing and curriculum development for the many students in the 4J Connections Transition program. She works closely with Eugene-based SLLEA (Smart Living, Learning & Earning with Autism) to integrate Cognitopia’s self-management tools into the organization and structure design input and support platform implementation. Professionally, Julie has over twenty years’ experience working in engineering, technology, software development, and journalism; a path made possible with two degrees in Technical Communication: a BS from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and a MS from Colorado State University. A single mom of three high schoolers (grades 9, 10, and 11), Julie has introduced Cognitopia to terms such as “sick” and “yeet,” while overseeing the office coffee consumption. In her free time, she enjoys playing recreational soccer, improv comedy, and traveling.