Brain in hand - personal technology for independant living

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Innovative support for University students

Universities are looking at new ways to support students with hidden disabilities and mental health problems, so they can really enjoy their time at university and reach their full potential.  Brain in Hand comes at a crucial time; with less support funded by SFE, universities must now provide and/or commission additional services to students with far less funding.

Brain in Hand provides a solution to this problem; it improves both student outcomes and staff efficiency by delivering support when its needed most, using readily available technology students feel comfortable with – a smart phone.   It’s proven to make a difference to students’ lives, reducing anxiety and keeping their studies on track.  A trial by The National Autistic Society amongst university students showed Brain in Hand delivers a significant reduction in anxiety plus an increase in confidence and independence.

Unique support software, Brain in Hand gives students access to detailed personalised support, when and where they need it, from their phone.  If additional support is needed the student can request urgent assistance from support staff discretely through the Brain in Hand app and both staff and students can track progress via a secure website.  This enables quick intervention and prevents problems from escalating.

How does it work?

Brain in Hand is designed to arm students with access to personalised support from an app on their phone.  It’s packed with features:

Never Forget – A diary and notes for difficult to remember tasks

Enter lectures, clubs and routines into your Brain in Hand diary so you can plan ahead and make sure no events or activities are missed.

Reduce Anxiety – Access to pre-planned coping strategies instantly

Everyone faces different challenges in life and know which coping strategies work best for them. But when under pressure this can be forgotten.  Brain in Hand gives easy and instant access to a person’s best thinking when it’s needed most.

Feel supported – Track your anxiety levels and request extra support if you need it

Brain in Hand helps people to monitor their anxiety.  Throughout the day they will be prompted to indicate their anxiety levels using a traffic light icon on their phone:  Green if everything is fine, amber if feeling uneasy or red if extra support is needed.  This helps keeps support staff aware of feelings and informs periods of reflection.

Alongside the regular monitoring, if coping strategies aren’t working and extra help is needed, at any time the red traffic light can be pressed which will send an alert to support staff, letting them know extra help is needed.  This enables staff to provide help as quickly as possible to de-escalate a situation.

From a central website, staff have visibility of everyone’s usage information, latest anxiety levels and can be alerted if anyone is distressed.  This monitoring and insight means they are better informed when talking with each pupil during periods of reflection or planning.  They also have time-stamped detailed information to help staff planning.

How does it help?

Helping all students to succeed no matter the challenges they face and avoiding unnecessary drop outs is the ambition of every university and it has a direct impact on the university budget as it can cost as much as £33,000 in withdrawn funding if a student leaves before completing their first year.

Arming students with a diary, access to their own coping strategies and giving them the option of requesting additional support when they need it, helps reduce anxieties, build confidence and help keep their studies and lives on track.  Amongst those using the system results have been dramatic.  94% of those using Brain in Hand report that it’s having a positive impact on their life, 88% cope better with problems and feel more confident and 100% say Brain in Hand provides them with help when they need it.

Brain in Hand enables university support teams to provide a cost-effective service.  It helps teams track and support increased numbers of students and provide intervention when it’s needed most.  Additionally, the rich set of usage and monitoring information can better inform support sessions with students, assist operational support planning and enable greater consistency between support providers.

How to buy & funding

It’s simple to integrate Brain in Hand in to your existing support structures.  Universities can specify the number of licences they need our expert team will put together a set-up, installation and training package that will work best for your institution.  A single annual Brain in Hand licence costs £540, discounts are available for multiple licence purchases and each licence can be transferred from one individual to another as appropriate.

Students can also access Brain in Hand individually through DSA.  More information for individuals looking to buy Brain in Hand can be found here.

If you are a DSA assessor looking to recommend Brain in Hand for a student you are assessing, more information and useful forms can be found here.

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