Smartphones, the brain prosthetic of the 21st century
Nowadays people always have their phones with them, right? Like an amputee needing an artificial limb, a person with a brain injury or other disorder is often told to use a notebook as a prosthetic device. But many people feel that needing a notebook all the time advertises that something is different about them. And if their memory is impaired, how can they find the spot where they wrote important information? Worse yet, what if they lose the notebook? Apps seem like the perfect replacement for notebooks. But … there are so many apps out there!
Which apps work best?
At BEST, we have been working with people with brain injuries since the 1980s. We know what works and what doesn’t. We carefully review apps ourselves to identify the smallest number of apps that will solve the most cognitive challenges in daily living—whether at home, in the community, at work, or at school. If we can’t find an app out there that meets the need, we create a new one, and we involve people with brain disorders in the development process!
The table below shows just a few of the many examples of problems which can be solved using the right apps and the BEST online training videos. For more information about how we match some common cognitive challenges with specific strategies and the apps that help users implement those strategies, see our Matching Challenges, Strategies and Apps page.
|Doing too much and becoming overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion||Plan breaks to help reduce fatigue||PaceMyDay*|
|Getting overwhelmed by paper; not being able to find important information||Take notes on smart device and use keyword search to find them later||Notability; Inspiration Maps|
|Not knowing what strategy to use||Apply principles of self-regulation; create a list of effective strategies||Notability; PaceMyDay*; StrategizeMyLife (to be developed by BEST)|
|Not planning ahead; double-booking or missing appointments; not completing work on time||Enter all commitments in a calendar; create a plan for accomplishing a goal||Week Calendar, ReachMyGoals†|
How will I know how to use the apps?
BEST offers self-paced, easy, online training (including videos) for the apps we recommend. Our trainings are specially designed for people with brain disorders who are using the apps as cognitive prosthetics. We connect important cognitive skills (like categorization or identifying relevant and irrelevant information) that you use in everyday life to the application of those same skills in operating the apps. We call this the Making Cognitive Connections approach.
What if I want to assist someone else in using the apps?
BEST also offers individual and group trainings for caregivers and professionals (e.g., speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, neuropsychologists, social workers, job coaches and others) who want to learn how to assist people with brain injuries and other disorders (e.g., multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, autism, etc.) as they use apps to increase independence and productivity and reduce depression.