E-mail Usage Monitoring for People with Intellectual Disabilities

This post is about reports from CogLink, e-mail software designed for people with intellectual disabilities. I have been receiving them in my capacity as the “Helper” of the person using Coglink (also me).

In my review of CogLink, the last of three posts about it (see list below), I explained the CogLink term “Helper”.  It is someone who installs it, provides assistance during automated training on how to use it, and manages its advanced features.  One of them is an option to receive monthly usage reports.

Report Contents

Reports have two sections: monthly- and weekly statistics.  Each has two subsections.

Social Measures

Number of:

  • times e-mail is checked;
  • hours spent using CogLink;
  • messages received; and
  • messages sent

About this section, the report explains:

“These items reflect the user’s initiation of and overall engagement in email, including time spent emailing and the level of social exchange (i.e. messages sent vs. received) with their email partners. Decreases in email activity over time may indicate the need for the support person to contact the user and/or their partners concerning possible reasons for these changes (e.g. technical problems, change in email address, out-of-town).”

Skill-based Measures

Number of:

  • hours spent composing email;
  • words per minute;
  • words per sentence; and
  • characters per message

About this section, the report states:

“These items reflect the user’s email message composition skills. For example, examining trends in the average # words per sentence or sentences per message may reveal changing skills in using email.”


I think these reports are useful in helping people with intellectual disabilities learn how to use e-mail.  Because repeated, consistent training is likely needed, these reports are a good way to track related problems over time.

The reports do not include confidential information, such as the content of e-mail messages, nor statistics broken down by e-mail “Buddies” (Coglink’s term).  In my opinion, the reports provide just enough information to be helpful without being invasive of privacy.

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Note: No endorsement of CogLink is intended or implied.