Almost everyday, we hear of new smartphone applications (“apps”) developed for just about everything — from staying organized to finding pharmacies or restaurants while on the road. It’s hard to keep up.
The BrainLine team sifted through many resources to collect this list of iPhone, iTouch, and iPad apps that could be useful to people with a brain injury — and their families and caregivers. We will cover other smartphone platforms in the next installment of this series.
Download a chart of all 24 Apps.
But let’s backtrack for a moment. What makes a smartphone different from a regular mobile phone? And what exactly is an “app”?
A smartphone is a mobile phone that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary feature phone that just allows you to make outgoing calls and receive incoming calls. As smartphones — like the Apple iPhone and the Android — become more advanced, companies are developing all sorts of games and tools, known as “apps” or applications that you can use on that phone.
Some of these apps have proven to be especially helpful for people with brain injury. The phone can be used to remind you of an upcoming appointment or to take medication, or it can be used like a traditional paper notebook to keep all your addresses, telephone numbers, calendar items, lists, and ideas. Please note that BrainLine does not endorse these or any specific products.
Breathe2Relax is a portable stress management tool. The app is a hands-on diaphragmatic breathing exercise. Breathing exercises have been documented to decrease the body's “fight-or-flight” (stress) response, and help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management. Particularly useful for service members or veterans with PTSD and/or TBI, Breathe2Relax can be used as a stand-alone stress reduction tool, or in tandem with clinical care directed by a healthcare worker.
ClearRecord Premium is an audio recording app that is able to suppress ambient, background noise. It features the ability to control play-speed without modifying pitch-quality. The Ambient Noise Reduction (ANR) feature, allows the user to record conversations in any noisy environment — street, train, classroom, or airplane — while still maintaining clear voice. Slow play-speed allows transcription users and new language learners to slow down and listen clearly to a fast speaker while fast play-speed cuts short the time required to listen to a long recording without missing any parts.
The Corkulous™ idea board gives you an inspired way to collect, organize, and share your ideas. It’s a multi-purpose app containing cork boards where you can place notes, labels, photos, contacts, and tasks. Group your ideas visually on one board or spread ideas out across multiple boards (sub-boards also supported). Each cork board has plenty of real estate to capture your best ideas and plans. (iPad Only)
The d2u Dictation and Transcription app combines a voice recorder with a transcription service to provide users with a comprehensive dictation and transcription solution. Record, edit, and upload a digital recording then have the file accurately and efficiently transcribed to text anywhere, at anytime. All you need is an Internet connection. It’s easy to use, yet safe and secure. The app is fully data protected and HIPAA compliant.
* To use the transcription features of this app, you need a d2u account. You can register for an account inside the app
Dragon Dictation is an easy-to-use voice recognition app that allows users to easily speak and instantly see their words on the screen. Dragon Dictation for the iPhone or iPad lets you send short text messages, longer email messages, and even update your Facebook and Twitter statuses without typing a word. A great app for people with limited mobility in their hands.
Need to pick up an urgent prescription? Or even just a regular one when traveling for work or pleasure? How about those times when you just want to grab headache pills and a new toothbrush ASAP but aren't in your regular neighborhood? No matter your location, the Find a Pharmacy app helps you immediately find the closest pharmacy.
Flashcards Deluxe is a flashcard app which you can use to study just about anything you want. Among other features, the app includes Quizlet.com integration where you can browse and download any of the more than four-million flashcard sets; use the built-in searchable “dictionary” of your cards that allows you to easily look up other terms as you study; and a way to include pictures and sounds, zoom into pictures, and auto-repeat sounds.
iBooks is Apple’s ebook reader. It allows users to search thousands of popular book and magazine titles and download them instantly. iBooks works with VoiceOver, which will read the contents of the pages out loud. The screen of the iPad, iPhone, and iTouch is so sensitive to touch that just the slightest movement of a finger will allow many book enthusiasts with disabilities to turn the pages of their own book for the first time.
ICE (In Case of Emergency) is for anyone who cares for disabled people, children, or elders. It’s also useful for individuals and families. My Emergency Info helps you gather important information that is necessary in an emergency situation. The name of your doctor, medications you are taking, medical conditions, allergies, and insurance information can be accessed with the tap of a finger. You can also use the app to find hospitals nearby in case of an emergency.
View in the iTunes App Store >
iConverse is an educational tool designed for young children and individuals with communicative disabilities, and also toddler-aged children who have yet to master language. iConverse is an Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that replaces bulky and expensive communication devices used in the past for digital speech.
Index Card is non-linear writing tool that helps you capture your ideas and store notes as they come to you. With the app, you can organize the flow of your project by using a familiar corkboard interface and compile your work into a single draft document that can be read by most word processors. Index Card will assist in writing, structuring, and managing a large project by allowing you to work in small, manageable chunks. (iPad Only)
Integrated Technology for Persons with Autism or Developmental Disabilities (ITPADD) is an iTouch/iPhone application developed to provide individualized portable curriculum for multiple students, reduce cost of traditional materials, increase instructional time, and provide teachers with resources in the palm of their hand.
Lumos Lab’s Brain Trainer provides exercises targeting memory, attention, speed, flexibility, and problem solving. Users can design their own personalized training, including “courses” with TBI- and/or PTSD-specific content. Users have some control over what exercise they select on given day, and the content adapts to the appropriate challenge level. Lumosity is available on the web and as an iPhone application.
View in the iTunes App Store >
Penultimate is a handwriting app helps you get the fast, tactile gratification of writing on paper, with digital power and flexibility. Take notes, keep sketches, or share your next breakthrough idea — in the office, on the go, or at home. (iPad only)
Pic-Z Tag is a fun and convenient nametag application that lets you identify yourself to others at a conference, business meeting, or any social gathering. Just enter your name and a brief description and you are ready to greet the world while showing off your high-tech spin on the old nametag. When you meet someone new, you can just flash your iPhone to introduce yourself. It’s especially useful for people who have trouble speaking.
The Pill Time application will keep track of your medicines and remind you when you need to take them. After you set up your schedule, Pill Time will alert you on time even if the app is not running. You can enter as many medicines as you want and define multiple usage time and dosage per day per medicine.
View in the iTunes App Store >
The Proloquo2Go app provides a full-featured augmentative and alternative communication solution for people who have difficulty speaking. It provides natural sounding text-to-speech voices (initially American and British English only), high-resolution, up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a default vocabulary of more than 7,000 items, advanced word prediction, full expandability, and extreme ease of use.
PTSD Coach was designed for veterans and service members who have, or may have, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The app provides users with education about PTSD, information about professional care, a self-assessment for PTSD, opportunities to find support, and tools that can help users manage the stresses of daily life with PTSD. Tools range from relaxation skills and positive self-talk to anger management and other common self-help strategies. Users can customize tools based on their preferences and can integrate their own contacts, photos, and music. This app can be used by people who are in treatment as well as those who are not. PTSD Coach was created by VA’s NationalCenter for PTSD and DoD’s National Center for Telehealth & Technology.
View in the iTunes App Store >
The Hope for One app focuses on providing support to military veterans and their families who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. The app includes informational videos and testimonials, podcasts from professional counselors and psychiatrists discussing PTSD, links for resources, and a fan wall for people to support each other and share their experiences. People with PTSD — and their loved ones — do not need to go it alone.
The RFB&D Audio app allows for easy access to Learning Ally’s (formerly RFB&D) downloadable DAISY formatted books. Learning Ally members can explore the library of more than 64,000 audiobooks that are designed for people with print and learning disabilities.
* To use RFB&D Audio, membership is required. Membership is free for eligible people with visual impairments or dyslexia.
With T2 Mood Tracker, users can self-monitor, track, and reference their emotional experiences associated with common deployment-related behavioral health issues like post-traumatic stress, brain injury, depression, and anxiety. With each self-rating, notes on environmental influences on emotional experiences can be added. Self-monitoring results can be a self-help tool or they can be shared with a therapist or healthcare professional, providing a record of the patient’s emotional experience over a selected time frame.
The Tactical Breather app can be used to gain control over physiological and psychological responses to stress. Through repetitive practice and training, people can learn to gain control of their heart rate, emotions, concentration, and other physiological and psychological responses during stressful situations. Although these techniques were developed primarily for soldiers in combat, anyone can benefit from the ideas taught in this application to help with stressful situations in life. The app may be especially useful for service members and veterans with PTSD and/or TBI.
Today Screen is a one-stop app for quickly viewing your upcoming agenda, tasks due, and local weather forecast. Tasks and events are intuitively highlighted based on date and time, so that what you need to look at right now stands out clearly. There’s no setup required. Today Screen syncs automatically with your iPhone calendar, which means that events from Microsoft Exchange, Google Calendar, MobileMe, and other accounts are instantly viewable. Local weather forecasts are also automatically provided based on your location.
View in the iTunes App Store >
Voice Cards Are Not Flashcards allows you to create voice flashcards with an autoplay and shake option. You can start out by creating sets of flashcared just as you would with paper notecards or flashcards, except you create a voice recording of your questions and answers in sets of Voice Cards. You can “flip” between questions and answers by swiping or shaking the phone.
Wallet Advanced is an excellent application for managing website logins, passwords, PIN numbers, credit cards, memberships, family info, product data information, and more. Featuring easy-to-use software, customizable settings, special encryption technology, and synchronization capabilities, Wallet Advanced provides an intuitive solution to overcome your ever-expanding personal data needs. (iPadOnly)
See our other apps slideshow for Android devices: 20 Life-Changing Android Apps for People with Brain Injury.
Created by BrainLine.