18 of the best apps for simplifying everyday life for people with brain injury

Nowadays there's an app for almost anything out there. Here we've researched some of the best on the market which have proven to be especially helpful for people with brain injury.

  1. CanPlan – Free on iOS. CanPlan promotes independence and builds confidence by helping people with cognitive challenges complete tasks successfully. Virtually any activity can be broken down into a sequence of easy-to-follow steps, illustrated by photos and reinforced with optional text and audio. Scheduling and reminder features ensure that each task gets done on time.   2. iBooks with VoiceOver – Free on iOS. Search and instantly download thousands of popular books and magazine titles. iBooks works with VoiceOver, which will read the contents of the pages out loud.
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3. Lumosity brain trainer – Free on iOS. This app has brain exercises targeting memory, attention, speed, flexibility and problem solving. Users can design your own personalised training, including ‘courses’ with TBI-specific content. More advanced features are available through paid subscription.   4. GE MIND app – Free on iOS. The MIND app (Make an Impact on Neurological Disorders) features art, music and dance activities to appeal to the visual, physical and auditory capacities of patients afflicted by neurological disorders such as stroke and traumatic brain injury (as well as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and essential tremor patients). Users can observe well known art masterpieces, watch dance and exercise videos, and enjoy music from different countries, as well as having an opportunity to create their own content.   5. SmallTalk Aphasia – female or male – Free on iOS. Designed for people with aphasia, an impairment in the ability to use language, SmallTalk Aphasia provides a vocabulary of pictures and videos that talk in a natural human voice. An app can be downloaded either with a female or male voice. SmallTalk Aphasia contains a starter set of icons to introduce users to the Lingraphica communication system.
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  6. Answers: YesNo HD - £2.99 for iOS. This app was designed with the purpose of providing an easy to use, affordable way for nonverbal individuals with motor planning issues to communicate with those around them. It has two large, colour-coordinated buttons for yes and no. Press either, and have a voice read your selection. The HD version also provides the ability to program custom buttons with custom text and pictures.   7. D2u Transcriber: Dictation and Transcription – Free for iOS, free 5 minute trial then £1.55 charged per audio minute. This app is the world’s first fully integrated dictation and transcription system for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch. Record, edit and upload a digital recording then have the file transcribed to text.   8. My Medical info app - £0.79 for iOS. My Medical is an app where users can generate medical profiles for the whole family, organise all family doctors and their contact information, compile medication and dosage information, set reminders for appointments, and share their medical ID form with healthcare professionals.
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9. ChoiceWorks - £4.99 for iOS. The Choiceworks app is an essential learning tool for helping children complete daily routines, understand & control their feelings and improve their waiting skills (taking turns and not interrupting). Created with the support of leading hospitals and child development specialists, it’s designed for caregivers to provide support to foster a child’s independence, positive behaviour, and emotional regulation at home, in the community, and at school.   10. Dexteria - £2.99 for iOS. Dexteria is a set of therapeutic hand exercises to improve fine motor skills and handwriting readiness in children and adults. Its unique hand and finger activities take full advantage of the multi-touch interface to help build strength, control, and dexterity. The exercises are designed to be repeatable on a regular basis and engaging.
11. Injini: Child Development Game Suite - £22.99 for iOS. Developed by experts and endorsed by parents and teachers, Injini’s collection of learning games offers meaningful play to young children, especially toddlers and preschoolers with cognitive, language, and fine motor delays. The games contain 10 feature games with 90 puzzles, over 100 illustrations, 8 farm-themed mini-games and more. It brings fun to learning while at the same time practicing children’s fine motor and language skills.
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12. QR Reader, then ‘if I need help’ Custom ID cards – Download QR reader for free on smartphones which scans QR codes, barcodes and words, and then ID cards from ‘If I Need Help’ can be scanned. These are personal iD cards, ideal for someone with brain injury, who if they get lost may become distressed or need help. The iD cards can provide health information and contact information, accessible when their QR code is scanned.
13. iSwallow - £2.99 for iOS. This is a personal rehabilitation assistant that was developed to assist patients who are undergoing rehabilitation for swallowing disorders. Clinicians can develop a personalised swallowing programme that is appropriate for the patient and then program the device to alert the patient when it is time to perform their swallowing exercise.
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14. Unus Tactus - £7.99 for iOS. This app was developed to assist people of all ages with mild cognitive/motor deficits by allowing them to have an easy to use cell phone with a simple set up. It utilises a one touch photo dialing system to generate phone calls using phone numbers from existing contacts, and includes an emergency button for fast help.  
15. Spaced Retrieval TherAppy - £2.99 for iOS. This app facilitates recalling an answer over expanding intervals of time (1 minute, 2 minutes, 4 minutes etc.). It therefore helps to cement information in memory, even for those with impaired memory with this scientifically-proven method of spaced-retrieval training.   16. Naming TherAppy - £18.99 for iOS. This is a word-finding app to help people with aphasia and children with special needs practice important naming and description skills. It allows users to add their own images. Designed by a Speech-Language Pathologist for use in the home and clinic, this app features photos, real voices and full customisation with over 700 words included.  
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17. Cozi Family Organizer – Free for iOS. This is a family organisation app that includes a shared calendar, shopping lists, to do lists, and a family journal. This app allows a person with TBI to stay up-to-date and keep track of various family events and duties.   18. Qcard – Free for iOS for 30 days, with in app purchase of £2.99/month after that. Qcard is a beautifully simple and intuitive life management app. It has been exclusively designed for people who need a better way to remember, manage and get things done. This is a life changing app for those living with brain injuries or anyone with memory impairments. It was founded by a man who was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, which resulted in an acquired brain injury that changed his life. His struggles and frustrations led him to develop Qcard as a tool for himself.
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