• Technology and Brain Injury – Friends or Foes?

    When an individual suffers a brain injury, there is often a mad rush by family members to find every possible way to help in the recovery process. Technology is such a huge part of life these days that there are many people that see technology as the wave of the future for treating brain injury deficits – and many therapists would agree with them.
    According to Quora.com, there are over 500 new apps launched each day across the world. With each new app there is a possibility for living differently and learning something new. In the world of rehabilitation, new apps mean new ways for therapists to reach farther into the world of technology to find different ways to help patients that have suffered a brain injury.
    When looking for apps that could help with brain injury recovery, it is important to remember a few key points
    1. What is the goal of the app?
    2. How hard is the app to learn?
    3. Is there a cost for use?
    4. Are there different skill levels?
    It is important to think about what a patient needs when looking for a specific app to help with brain injury recovery. For example, if a patient needs to learn to read, then an app with lots of directions would not be a good choice. Finding an app with simple directions, such as a focus on filling in words or completing sentences, would be a good choice. There are many apps for adults that will also assist with the process of learning to read, which may work well for individuals relearning those skills after a stroke or brain injury.
    Apps that have complicated directions or steps to start the program are typically not good for someone attempting to work on cognitive skills. An app with two or three short descriptions for directions, or individual step by step directions that can be seen when using the app, may work best.
    There are thousands of free apps available for the different types of smartphones and tablets. With free apps, there ay still be in app charges that exist beyond just the free portion of the download. It is important to read the details of the app prior to purchase to ensure that it does not need a lot of money to play and participate.
    The goal of an app when used as a therapeutic tool is to help someone improve function in a specific area. Some apps offer levels of difficulty, so that when one area or level has been reached, there is a next step to continue learning a task or practice a skills. This leveled learning is helpful when a patient wants to learn only one or two games, instead of having to get multiple apps to find harder and harder tasks to complete.
    With any app purchase it is important to try them out – a free app is always a good choice, and is a way to find interesting and fun ways to work on therapeutic goals without getting bored. Try different games, even if they do not feel interesting, as you may be surprised by what you can learn, and how much even simple games can improve skills that have been disrupted by a brain injury.