Brain in hand - personal technology for independant living

Font size: A A A
Contrast: A A

Cornwall Council has invested in innovative technology to help people become more confident and live more independently. BBC News recently featured the story of Cornish BiH user Fran, for whom Brain in Hand has meant an increased ability to complete day-to-day tasks without needing as much support. As a result, Fran’s confidence has grown: it’s read more

Holly is 19 years old and is a first-year student studying Graphic Design at De Montfort University. Holly is very close to her parents and found it extremely tough when they moved to Canada shortly after she started university; through checking in on her Brain in Hand timeline and adding comments, she feels that they read more

Matthew is in his first year of a forensic science course at De Montfort University. When he first came to university, Matthew found it difficult to adjust to his new setting and the increase in independent learning, and found that he struggled with anxiety when meeting new people or going to new places. De Montfort read more

Saajan is now in his third year studying physics at De Montfort University. At the beginning of his studies, Saajan found the transition to university life extremely challenging: his timetable was more varied than the rigid routine he’d had at school, and he found it difficult to organise the significant levels of self-directed study he read more

Will is a final-year student at Cardiff University, studying biochemistry. During his first year in a new, unfamiliar city, Will felt that lots of aspects of his daily life simply didn’t go to plan; as a result, he says he used to ‘back himself into a corner’, letting problems pile up until they were overwhelming. read more

BBC Click is the BBC’s flagship technology programme, appearing on five channels across TV and radio as well as online. It aims to provide a user-friendly guide to the latest technology news in the context of today’s important issues. In a recent episode, BBC Click examined a technological approach to helping autistic people manage their read more

The following is a testimony received from a Brain in Hand user, and is in her own words. Note that the names of the user and her BiH Specialist have been changed at the user’s request.   I am in my third year at university, doing a BA Hons in creative writing and English literature. I read more

In a move to help people take control of their support and increase independence, Wigan Council has introduced Brain in Hand into a number of its mental health services. See how Brookfield House, a community home that provides effective support to people experiencing a wide range of conditions, is using Brain in Hand and seeing read more

Sam from Kirklees experiences mental health issues. A range of situations can raise her anxiety levels, which has led to long periods when she has been absent from work. She accesses support from the Community Links Engagement and Recovery (CLEAR) service. To help achieve her goal to return to work, the team gave her Brain read more

Across Kirklees 42,500 people suffer from a common mental health disorder. To deliver the right care at the right time, transforming lives whilst also saving costs, the Council has integrated Brain in Hand into its community mental health service. Users have made good progress towards improved mental health and a 10:1 ROI has been achieved. read more


Supported Internship Programmes equip young people with special education or health needs with the skills and experience they need to gain paid employment. But when on placement, beyond the work coaches’ reach, it can be especially tough for many students. Hereward College introduced Brain in Hand and 55% of its intern students achieved paid employment. read more

As part of its telehealth programme, Hampshire Council has given people with autism, learning difficulties or a mental health condition Brain in Hand. The technology has made a big impact. The council has seen increased independence and quality of life amongst users. This has led to reduced demands on carers and cost savings within services. read more

The Huntercombe Group looks after almost 800 people with mental health problems, a learning difficulty or brain injury. Since introducing Brain in Hand to its low secure facility, there’s been a decline in disruptive behaviour, a reduction in incidents and fewer physical restraints amongst users. For patients on days out, it’s a valuable safety net. read more

To help deliver the right mental health support to young people, schools and colleges across Bolton have introduced Brain in Hand. Students report feeling more in control and confident. There has been 89% engagement levels and >50% of students better able to manage their condition, such as one pupil who has been discharged from CAHMS. read more


Participating in the Bolton Council and Bolton CCG Brain in Hand programme, Bolton College has seen positive results. Janet Bishop, Head of Learner Support said: “Students are gaining the confidence to start thinking about new things that they can do that they never found possible before.” Hear from the students in our video.

ESSA Academy is one of the schools participating in the Bolton Brain in Hand programme. Martin Knowles, Head at ESSA Academy said “I am a huge fan of Brain in Hand and it’s delivering great outcomes here at ESSA Academy.” To hear what the students say, see our video.

UPDATE: De Montfort University recently hosted a webinar session on their use of Brain in Hand, telling us how staff resources are now better utilised and students are independently able to deal with problems. For a recording of that session and other resources, click here. For more staff and student stories, read on. Universities are read more

Ian Mitchell is an experienced operational research manager, using modelling, statistical analysis and simulations to develop practical solutions to problems faced by the Government. A grade 7 Civil Servant, he has significant analysis responsibilities supporting a broad range of policies. Ian enjoys his job, but changes in management can cause him to become stressed, develop read more

Rosie King has inspired a generation, seeing autism through fresh eyes. ‘My Autism and Me’, the BBC documentary she presented, won a Royal Television Society award, and her TEDMED talk has been viewed by more than 1.7 million people. When faced with what she saw as “one of the most exciting and one of the read more

Hazel, 23, is autistic and has a learning disability and lives with her Mum and Dad in Fareham. She volunteers at a community café and also a local charity shop, sorting through donations. Hazel can get extremely anxious being out on her own and especially travelling on public transport, and so her parents used to read more

Luke, 47, was one of the first people to be supported by Autism East Midlands when it founded in 1968.  Luke attended the charity’s school, lived in its residential home and now lives independently in a flat in Worksop. Over his time with Autism East Midlands, Luke’s independence has increased and Luke now leads an read more

Erica, 46 from the Wirral was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when she was 32. She has been unemployed for the past six years. Erica finds social interaction at work hard, she feels people don’t always understand her and sometimes see her as being less intelligent, because of her facial expressions. Determined to do everything she read more

Alan, 26, lives in Nottingham and has high-functioning autism. He’s passionate about politics and one day would love to be a Green Party MP. For now, he is keen to find work in the political analysis field, yet despite gaining a degree he’s struggled to stay in work. Although he finds the work itself easy, read more

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 read more

Neil has a learning disability and joined a fostering scheme with his local Council four years ago. When he first entered the scheme he needed around the clock care from his supporter John. Neil’s psychologist requested that he use Brain in Hand to help build his confidence and increase his independence. One of Neil’s first read more

Emily, 22 lives at home whilst studying at college. She can often turn to self-destructive and self-harming behaviours.  She would like one day to live independently, but has needed constant supervision from her family. She has also found travelling alone hard; her increase in anxiety has stopped her from attempting this. Emily has been given read more

Former Royal Navy Air Engineer, Kathleen, 34, from Hornchurch in Essex, has autism and Post-Traumatic Stress Reaction (PTSR). After years of being a serviceman, Kathleen is very used to being self-reliant, but in certain situations she finds it hard to cope. She has a strong network of support, including her husband, Mark, her mother, and read more

Set in a bright purpose built facility, West Exe School is a comprehensive on the edge of Exeter city that strives to unlock the potential in each of its thousand plus students.  As part of its ethos to help students feel supported and equip them with the skills to progress in life, it has been read more

College is a time of growth for students preparing for university, further vocational training or employment.  Young people with autism can also face additional challenges, with students often experiencing anxiety when coping with changes in routine or the challenge of settling into a new environment.  Sensory overload can mean the busy sights and sounds of read more

“You can’t get more individual than Brain in Hand and the evidence information is invaluable.” Jane Howson, CEO, Autism East Midlands It is estimated that there are 45,000 people living with Autism in the East Midlands; a lifelong condition, it touches the lives of 180,000 people across the region.  Founded by a group of parents read more

Sarah Alexander, 30, from Farnborough in Hampshire is on the autistic spectrum. She has found it hard to stay in employment for longer than three to four months. But since using Brain in Hand, things have changed. Sarah has been using Brain in Hand software for a number of months now. It gives her access read more

University can be a challenging experience for students. But for almost two and a half thousand(1) students with autism spectrum conditions within each year’s intake, it can be especially tough.  The condition can bring additional difficulties – from managing their own time, dealing with changes in a course schedule, to coping with social interaction.  These challenges read more

When Bethan’s GCSEs loomed on the horizon, Kate, her mum, began to worry about how her daughter would cope.  Bethan is 16 and has Asperger’s syndrome.  She’s bright and capable in many ways but was easily stressed when faced with new challenges at school. Through their contacts at Wirral Autistic Society’s Rainbow Resource Centre, Kate read more

Every year, two and a half thousand young people with autism start out on university life.  Faced with the additional challenges their condition may bring, the experience can be overwhelming; drop-out rates are much higher among the autistic student population than their neurotypical peers. With support or inclusive practice, however, students with autism can excel read more

One of our biggest advocates is a 15 student from Devon.  With Asperger’s Syndrome has been using Brain in Hand for over a year and wanted us to share his views. “I first heard about Brain in Hand from the SENCO at the school saying that this would be a good idea to test out. read more