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 and Bethan heard about a new technology called Brain in Hand that is designed to give support to people with conditions such as Asperger’s syndrome or anxiety.
Brain in Hand offers a secure website on which users can plot detailed diaries and work out solutions to daily challenges. This links to a smart phone, a support system for the day, where personalised coping strategies for issues can be found and a help button (using a traffic light system to denote levels of anxiety) can be used if intervention is required from a mentor back at base. The idea is that the person with autism retains control of the support they need.
Chloe, who works at the resource centre, agreed to be Bethan’s mentor. If Bethan pressed amber it would mean she needed reassurance. Red would mean she was seriously stressed. The system has worked so well that Chloe has been able to resolve almost all of Bethan’s day-to-day issues from back at base. And Bethan’s confidence has come on in leaps and bounds – so much so that during the summer she successfully completed her GCSEs.
Kate says that Brain in Hand has become Bethan’s lifeline – and that Chloe is now more like a friend than a mentor to her daughter.