Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

App launched to help professionals better support people with high-functioning autism

Brain in Hand An app has been launched that aims to help healthcare professionals provide better support to people with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome who are dealing with stressful situations.

The app, developed by mobile healthcare company Brain in Hand, has been made available to healthcare professionals and people with autism.

Brain in Hand has developed a collaborative system following five years of research and development, as well as working with NHS trusts (Isle of Wight NHS Trust and Devon NHS Partnership Trust), University of Exeter, schools and social services organisations. The company found that anxiety levels can be controlled if the person with autism configures their own responses to unexpected or difficult situations and has these constantly available to them, through a smartphone, tablet or wearable device.

Further reading: New iPad app helps autistic children develop social skills

The app has been developed for individuals with autism, who often prefer highly structured and ordered environments, and find unexpected or complex situations difficult to process, making them anxious and stressed. It allows these seemingly unstructured events, such as meeting a new person in a café, to be broken down into a series of steps, which makes these tasks less anxious to these individuals. If a situation becomes too uncomfortable, then an innovative traffic light system on the device triggers an immediate call from a trained mentor if “Red” is pressed, allowing further intervention and support.

It is currently being licensed to four NHS trusts, schools and mental health trusts and already has more than 120 users, and is reported to save up to £800 a week per patient.

David Fry, CEO of Brain in Hand, said: “Our new individual system is a direct response to healthcare professionals and trained individuals, who want to quickly support people at the higher end of the spectrum, without having to wait for a solution to be procured, commissioned and deployed. If an individual has been given a diagnosis in the morning, they can have the system up and running and ready for use in the afternoon. Having an immediate and personalised coping strategy for this is invaluable.

“Traditional clinical contact time is reduced, and because the system builds a detailed record of responses, new coping strategies can be developed. This is not only beneficial for people using Brain in Hand but it also means organisations can review and improve the services and support they provide.”

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