Greater independence means less worry for Mum
Hazel, who is autistic and has a learning disability, lives with her parents Elizabeth and Adrian. She is motivated to become more independent - she volunteers at a community cafe and a local charity shop, and wants to eventually move into a flat of her own - but can get extremely anxious being out on her own.
To encourage Hazel to develop the skills she would need for greater independence, Hampshire Council gave her access to the Brain in Hand system.
Before using Brain in Hand, Hazel would rely on her parents to take her to and from all of her activities. Because she could often forget things, she also needed them to remind her of important routines and tasks such as remembering to take her medication; she relied on getting a lot of support from them to help her organise herself and interact with others.
With the help of a Brain in Hand Specialist, Hazel and her parents identified all the things Hazel needed to do regularly, the things she could find difficult to deal with, and the things that she was good at that she could use to help her overcome problems. This information was all programmed into the Brain in Hand software so that she could access it at any time, even when she was overwhelmed and unable to process a situation clearly.
Hazel and Elizabeth talk about how Brain in Hand has helped Hazel to become more independent
With access to all this information, Hazel was able to calmly find coping strategies to help her solve problems ranging from late buses to social situations; all she had to do was look at her phone, so it was a discreet way of finding the help she needed. This allowed her to solve issues herself, instead of forgetting what to do and panicking.
The Brain in Hand system also includes a traffic light feature, which gives Hazel and her parents peace of mind. If her anxiety gets too much to deal with, or a situation is unfamiliar and she doesn't have a way to cope with it, she can simply press a red light to tell a supporter from Hampshire Council that she needs some extra help.
Since using Brain in Hand, Hazel's independence, confidence, and self-esteem have improved significantly. She can now use public transport on her own, once she knows the route and is familiar with it, and managing her anxiety independently means that she's much more often able to get to her volunteering roles without help.
From her parents' perspective, Brain in Hand has given them time to take care of themselves. Now that Hazel doesn't rely on them as heavily, and they know that she has easy access to guidance and help even when they're not with her, they feel much more able to take some time for their own activities and self-care.
Seeing Hazel grow into independence and confidence has been hugely rewarding for them, and the fact that they can feel that she's safe when she's out on her own has had a positive impact on their own wellbeing.
Find out more about how Brain in Hand helps individual users to achieve their goals: visit our For Me page.
Or, to learn more about our work with organisations including local authorities - such as Hampshire Council, who gave Hazel access to Brain in Hand - please refer to our Health and Social Care page.