We know what you’re thinking: don’t people with a traumatic brain injury have enough to relearn without training in new smart phone technology? Our answer: Yes and no. Yes, absolutely, which is why the apps we recommend are meant to complement existing therapies and programming. No, because the more frequently the mind is exercised, the greater the possibility of neuroplasticity rewiring the brain to be more functional in the future.
Technology today is working harder than ever to improve our lives. There are literally hundreds of apps for people with brain injuries and similar problems. We have selected these apps because they build on the day-to-day needs of an individual living with a TBI. We focused our research on these areas: . Social/Emotional . Functional . Cognitive Specifically, these apps help clients work on the following: short-term memory loss, communication/socialization problems, anxiety, behavioral and organization issues. Alarmed Free with $1.99 Upgrade Available (iOS) (Android Counterpart: Lists Alarmed!) Alarmed augments short-term memory while the user is rebuilding his or her own. A productivity app for the masses, people with traumatic brain injuries can use Alarmed to create multiple reminders with unique, memorable tones for each task. Reminders can be customized with a “To Do” list and send multiple email reminders/updates. This app also comes with a timer to assist in programming. Cozi Family Organizer Free (iOS & Android) Families can stay in sync on multiple platforms using this app that combines a shared calendar, shopping and “To Do” lists. With everyone on the same page, organizational skills are enhanced and frustration diminished. EverNote Free (iOS & Android) EverNote helps improve memory, organizational skills and even creativity by syncing ideas on multiple devices. The user can take notes, capture photos, create “To Do” lists and record voice reminders. The searchability function can be a tremendous boon for those with short-term memory loss. Productive Habits and Daily Goals Tracker Free with In-App Purchases (iOS) (Android Counterpart: Habitizer) This app helps users develop positive habits in their lives by keeping them organized, tracking their progress and maintaining motivation. It allows users to set the habits they want to develop and receive reminders when tasks are to be completed. Users can color code these based on the priority or category of the habit. This app can also allow a therapist or caregiver to set priority levels for each task. BrainHQ Free with In-App Purchases (iOS) (Android Counterpart: Luminosity) Brain HQ tailors a training program for each persons’ unique mind. Therapeutic exercises are personalized based on performance and can help improve cognitive skills. Exercises are designed to improve attention, memory, people skills and navigation. Brainscape - Smart Flashcards Free to $9.99 with In-App Purchases (iOS & Android) Pick a subject from geography to vocabulary-building and Brainscape has a set of smart digital flashcards. What makes these flashcards so smart? Besides being color-coded to aid recall, users are asked to indicate prior knowledge of the answers. Questions the user did not understand or answer correctly are repeated more frequently than those answered correctly.
Constant Therapy Free for 30 Days (iOS & Android) Constant Therapy is a speech therapy app for individuals who are looking to increase their cognitive abilities. This app is scientifically proven to improve speech, memory, cognition and comprehension skills. While this app can’t take the place of therapy, it is a great way to augment existing treatment by completing progressively challenging tasks right from your very own phone. Spaced Retrieval TherAppy $3.99 (iOS) (Android Counterpart: Spaced Retrieval) Spaced Retrieval is a scientifically-proven way of improving recall of names, facts, the routines of several people and more. People with brain injuries can rehearse memory skills by recalling an answer over expanding intervals of time (1, 2, 4 or 8 minutes) that helps to cement the information in their memories. Please note: this app is not intended for use without therapy. Answers: YesNo $1.99 (iOS & Android) For non-verbal clients, this app utilizes two large, color-coded buttons, green for “Yes” and red for “No”. When either button is pressed, the app vocalizes the client’s decision. This is a wonderful tool to help those with a brain injury or speech problem communicate without a struggle. Audible Free (iOS &Android) Audible is for individuals who love a good book but are having difficulty reading, retaining information or who simply enjoy closing their eyes and having a good book read to them. With Audible, users do not have to give up their literary passions, they just have to listen. This app is also compatible with Amazon, so books can be downloaded right from your account. Clear Record Premium Price ranges from $.99 to $1.99 (iOS) depending on upgrades (Android Counterpart: AndRecord) This audio recording app allows the user to record conversations in practically any environment and play it back at the speed and volume of their choosing. Unlike many other voice-recording apps, Clear Record Premium filters out ambient sound to ensure pitch and clear voices. Dragon Dictation Free (iOS & Android) Speak and this app will recognize the users voice and transcribe what they say into text messages, emails and even update social media. Dragon Dictation is a perfect mass media communication tool for anyone with a physical limitation. Type ‘n Talk Free (iOS) (Android Counterpart: Type and Speak) This app is incredibly useful for non-verbal individuals and other individuals who have difficulty with speech due to physical limitations. Type ‘n Talk allows the user to type what they need to say and their verbalized audio will play through whatever device is being used. This app also allows the user to copy text from websites and messages and provides a variety of languages. Pocket Verbal Ability Free (iOS & Android) Users can increase their vocabulary with this user-friendly vocabulary app. Pocket Verbal Ability asks questions that will help prepare for job interviews, exams, and day-to-day life. Social Skills $3.99 (iOS) (Android Counterpart: Talkingtiles) This app includes the most common topics in the functional social skills system for people with brain injuries to model for appropriateness. Topics include the following: meeting/greeting people, taking responsibility, being polite, joining others in groups, apologizing/excusing self, following directions and handling criticism. Users watch a brief video of a person performing the correct behavior for the social situation and can then pattern their own behavior accordingly. Breathe2Relax Free (iOS & Android) For anyone who could use a time out to relax, Breathe2Relax has been proven to help mood stabilization and control anger and anxiety. Users should simply indicate their level of stress and follow the audio instructions to breathe their way back to serenity. Essentially, this app provides on-site audio diaphragmatic breathing exercises. WeFeel Free (iOS & Android) WeFeel is a mental health app that users can use to track their emotions and monitor how they change over time. This app can help manage emotions by allowing the user to visualize their anger, fear, stress, etc and then offer coping strategies. With a subscription, a counselor, therapist or caregiver will be able to monitor the users recorded emotions in real time from their own smart phone. In Case of Emergency $1.99 (iOS & Android) This app allows people to store their medical information in a single location that is convenient for medical personnel in the event of any urgent situation. This app can also use to locate the nearest hospital. All apps labeled iOS can be found at the Amazon.com: Apps & Games. Apps for Android can be found at either Google Play or the Amazon App Store for Android. Since this is by no means an exhaustive list, we are always working to improve and add to it. We would love to hear from individuals with a traumatic brain injury and their physicians and caregivers about which apps they use.