Assistive Technology for Cognition Laboratory


Tony Gentry, PhD OTR/L‌
Associate Professor

Office & Lab Location:  730 East Broad Street, Theater Row Building, 2nd floor  

The Assistive Technology for Cognition Laboratory was established in 2005 to support research into the use of handheld computers, smart homes, computer games and other emerging technologies as tools to increase the functional independence of individuals with cognitive-behavioral impairment.  Since that time, we have completed a series of studies with populations including military veterans with traumatic brain injury, students and workers with autism, adults with multiple sclerosis and adults with mental illness, among others.  Additionally, we have established “smart home” learning laboratories at the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville, VA and at the McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond, VA.  

As technologies rapidly evolve, opportunities to leverage these tools for use by the disability community grow as well.  We continue to explore these emerging practice areas, researching and disseminating practical solutions for the everyday problems faced by people with cognitive-behavioral difficulties.

Laboratory Director Tony Gentry received his B.A. in history and literature from Harvard College, his M.A. in occupational therapy from New York University and his Ph.D. in instructional technology from the University of Virginia. Over the past decade, Dr. Gentry has conducted multiple research studies, with $2 million in funding from the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Disability Rehabilitation and Research (NIDRR), Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative Fund, VCU Community Engagement Fund, and others.  These research efforts have won awards or citations from the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America (RESNA) and the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services (DARS), among others.  Dr. Gentry’s selected publications, presentations, weblinks and other web-based materials are listed below.

Select Research Publications:

Gentry, T., Kriner, R., Sima, A., McDonough, J., & Wehman, P.  (2015).Reducing the need for personal support among workers with autism using an Apple iPod Touch as an assistive technology: A delayed randomized control trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(3), 669-684.

Gentry, T., & Loveland, J. (2013). The occupation of sleep:  Occupational therapy’s role in sleep management, OT Practice, 2, 14-19.

Gentry, T., Lau, S., Molinell, A., Fallen, A., & Kriner, R. (2012). The Apple iPod Touch as a vocational support aid for adults with autism: Three case studies, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 37, 75-85. (This article available for free download at:

Gentry, T. (2011).  Special issue editor:  Assistive technology for people with neurological disability, NeuroRehabilitation (28).

Gentry, T, Wallace, J, Kvarfordt, C., & Lynch, K.B. (2010).  PDAs as cognitive aids for high school students with autism:  Results of a community-based trial.  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation.  32:  101-108.  (This article is available for free download at

Gentry, T  (2009).  Smart homes for people with neurological disability:  State of the art.  Neurorehabilitation, 13, 27-36.

Wehman, P., Gentry, T., West, M., & Arango-Lasprilla, J.C. (2009).  Community integration:  Current issues in cognitive and vocational rehabilitation for individuals with ABI.  Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 46:  909-918.

Gentry, T. (2008).  PDAs as cognitive aids for individuals with multiple sclerosis.  American Journal of Occupational Therapy.  52:  444-452.

Gentry, T.  Wallace, J.  (2008). Personal digital assistants as cognitive aids for individuals with severe traumatic brain injury:  A community-based trial.  Brain Injury, 22:  19-24.


Copolillo, A., & Gentry, T. (2014). Low vision intervention: Decision-making for acquiring and integrating assistive technology. In Soderback, I., ed. International Handbook of Occupational Therapy Interventions, 2nd ed.  New York: Springer.

Armstrong, A. Gentry, T. and Wehman, P. (2012).  Assistive Technology from School to Adulthood, in Wehman, P. (ed.).  Life Beyond the Classroom, 5th ed.  Baltimore:  Brookes.

Gentry, T. (2012).  Smart Home Technologies for People with Cognitive Impairment:  An Affordable, Rehabilitative Approach, in Riechert, R. (ed.). Ambient Assisted Living Handbook.  Amsterdam: IOS Press.

Web-Based Resources: 

Dr. Gentry hosts a Facebook Page entitled “Assistive Technology for Cognition”.  Please visit and “like” the page to access a rich archive of articles, information, weblinks and adaptation suggestions, with frequent updates.  Please share your discoveries related to this topic on the page.

Assistive Technology for Cognition Facebook Page

Assistive Technology Applications in the Workplace.  VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center webinar.

National Rehabilitation Research Information Center


Older Adults Buddy Up with Amazon’s Alexa.  Wall Street Journal.

iPod Touch Apps Help Workers with Autism, Los Angeles Times

Tablet Devices Keep Autistic People Working, Scientific American

iPods as the Next Generation Autism Aid, The Atlantic

Woodrow Wilson Smart Home:  First in Virginia, Local news broadcast