Tina, 43, lives in Gosport, Hampshire. She is on the Autistic spectrum and she has ADHD and epilepsy. Tina is independent and lives with her son, but she doesn’t like to leave the house because she gets anxious.
Her social worker heard about Brain in Hand and felt it would arm Tina with the support she needs, in particular in helping her achieve the goal of leaving the house on her own.
A specialist Brain in Hand trainer worked closely with Tina to configure Brain in Hand to meet her needs. They entered Tina’s routine into her Brain in Hand to help her remember what to do and when to do it. For example, Tina often forgets to turn the taps off at home, causing flooding. Her Brain in Hand now prompts her to turn the taps off. Importantly, she also set reminders to take her medicine because she sometimes forgets.
With the Brain in Hand trainer, Tina also worked through situations that she finds daunting or causes her anxiety levels to rise. She carefully entered these into her Brain in Hand along with the relevant coping strategies she knows work best for her but can forget during times of anxiety.
For example, Tina doesn’t like crowds or noise. When attempting to travel by bus, if one arrives with lots of people on it, Tina freezes. She can’t get on the bus or explain to the driver why it’s a problem. Her anxiety builds as people stare and even get angry. When this happens, Tina can look at advice and activities she has stored in her Brain in Hand. For example, her fidget toys help her stay calm and she can get on the bus instead of giving up and going home.
Tina likes Brain in Hand’s traffic light feature. If her anxiety increases and she feels herself going into a meltdown with the potential to do something unsafe, she can press the red traffic light on her Brain in Hand and a support team member will get in touch to help her work through the situation. She thinks this is a great feature she can trust.
Brain in Hand allows Tina to set prompts so that every hour she records how she’s feeling. She presses a green traffic light if everything is okay, amber if she is feeling tense or red if she is feeling anxious. Tina values this feature because it keeps those who support her informed about how she’s feeling and she finds it acts as a release for her anxieties. Tina explained that stress can build in her head but, registering this helps stop the feelings from overwhelming her.
It took Tina only a couple of weeks to get used to Brain in Hand and, a year later, she says, “It’s everything to me; it’s given me a new life”.
With Brain in Hand, Tina has achieved her goal of leaving the house on her own. She has even set herself new goals. For almost nine months, every week for two hours, Tina has attended college to study English. The teacher understands the support Brain in Hand offers and Tina is permitted to keep her phone in class.
Tina attends therapy once a week to address self-harming issues. Although only a short walk from her home, before using Brain in Hand, Tina’s support worker needed to walk with her. Now Tina makes the ten-minute walk on her own.
Tina says, “Before Brain in Hand little things could build up and lead to me staying in the house and locking the doors. I was at risk of self-harming more. But with Brain in Hand, I can better manage my anxieties, I can leave the house and I’m doing well achieving my two new goals of attending college and walking to my therapists. I would absolutely recommend Brain in Hand to others. It’s giving me my life, it’s my second heartbeat.”
Watch the video below to see Tina talk to the BBC about how Brain in Hand has helped her become more independent: