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Category: Living with TBI

  1. Social Support after Traumatic Brain Injury in Manchester

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    Social support in Manchester for people with traumatic brain injury | Head Forward Centre

    Following a traumatic brain injury, social isolation is a common occurrence. At Head Forward Centre, we address the problem of social isolation after traumatic brain injury by offering activities which encourage social integration.

    A few years ago, research carried out at Head Forward Centre identified three major issues TBI survivors need to deal with: 

    • disruption to their social life by losing old friends
    • difficulty in making new friends and
    • difficulty in establishing relationships with others in a similar position.

    Attending the sessions we offer at Head Forward Centre can help with each of those issues. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday we engage in various social activities in the centre, group crosswords and anagrams, board games and discussions. We also share a meal together in a welcoming and calming environment where our attendees report being able to feel like themselves when they're at our centre. 

    We accept referrals from social workers, case managers, caregivers, friends and family from people living with TBI themselves. We charge £30 per day for a full day session - contact us today to make a referral. 

  2. 13 Helpful and Free Apps for People with Brain Injury in the UK

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    These days we rely on apps for everything from booking flights to ordering groceries and communicating with friends.

    13 helpful apps for people living with brain injury in the UK | Head Forward

    Phone apps are brilliant for keeping us organised and helping to address problems or difficulties we face. Here is a list of handpicked apps useful for people living with a brain injury in the UK. Some of the apps have been proven to be especially helpful for people with brain injury. 


    ABIWise is the only app made by people with a brain injury for people with a brain injury.

    Available on iOS and Android.


    AccessNow sharing accessibility information about places around the world. Search for specific places like a restaurant, hotel or store, or browse the map to see what is nearby with the accessibility features you require. If info isn’t already on our map, you can add it yourself and contribute to our worldwide community. Filter the map by category and tags and find the access that you need now.

    Available on iOS and Android.

    Android Accessibility Suite

    Android Accessibility Suite (formerly Google Talkback) is an accessibility feature. Its goal is to help the visually impaired navigate their devices. These features come built in with virtually every version of Androidand can be activated in the Settings menu. The app will then help the visually impaired interact with their devices. It's fairly basic, but effective. It adds things like vibration, spoken, and audible feedback.

    Available on Android.


    Listen to books on your mobile device at home or on the go. Perfect if you have trouble staying focused while reading or if you retain information better by listening.

    Available on iOS and Android.

    Be My Eyes

    Fostering the largest global community for the blind and visually impaired, the free app, Be My Eyes, virtually connects someone with vision problems with a sighted volunteer who can help them “see.” Using any smartphone, a blind or visually impaired user can open the app to request assistance, be connected through live video with a sighted volunteer, and then point their camera at what they want described to them. The sighted volunteer will then tell the user what they see in the user’s native language – it’s as simple as that!

    Available on iOS and Android.


    Hands-on stress management tool with diaphragmatic breathing exercises. Designed to help you with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management.

    Available on iOS and Android.

    Corkulous Professional

    Collect, organize, and share ideas on virtual cork boards. "Pin" notes, labels, photos, contacts, and tasks. Group ideas visually on one board or spread ideas out across multiple boards.

    Available on iOS.

    Cozi Family Organiser

    Family life organisation app that includes a shared calendar, shopping lists, to do lists, family journal. This app allows you to stay in sync with your family, carers or friends. 

    Available on iOS and Android.


    Help remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders, and make notes completely searchable.

    Available on iOS and Android.

    ICE - In Case of Emergency

    Ice lets you put your emergency medical contact information on your smartphone's lock screen image. If you are in an accident, first responders and emergency room staff can find your emergency medical contact information as soon as they turn on your smartphone.

    Available on Anroid.


    JABtalk is a free speech communication application designed to help non-verbal children and adults communicate. Speech therapists commonly refer to JABtalk as an easy and effective augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device. By combining personalized voice and images with an extremely simple user interface, JABtalk delivers a speech solution that is both fun to use and easy to learn. Originally designed as a communication tool for children with special needs, JABtalk has evolved into a communication tool used by special needs children, stroke patients, toddlers, speech-language pathologists, and others.

    Available on Android.


    Brain exercises targeting memory, attention, speed, flexibility, and problem solving. You can design your own personalised training, including "courses" with TBI-specific content.

    Available on iOS and Android.

    Do you use any of these apps? Or are there others that you prefer? Leave us a comment and let us know! 

  3. This Autumn, Seek Positivity

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     Autumn at Head Forward Centre Manchester

    As the leaves change colour and fall from the trees, our thoughts often turn to change and growth. Autumn can be a season of both reflection and positivity. Many of us report feeling a bit gloomier and bluer in the winter months; to combat that, let's get in the habit of thinking positively now!

    Positive thinking will also be beneficial for you as you cope with your brain injury. Sometimes it's difficult to think positively because worries and concerns simply appear in our minds and we may focus on feelings of anger or sadness. Don't judge yourself. Positive thinking doesn't mean you won't get those thoughts anymore. Actually being aware of those thoughts is often an important step towards feeling well. Focus on small things and share with others how you feel.

    Think of one thing you're grateful for each day or find a happy memory that brings a smile to your face and warms your heart and share that thought or memory with someone else. This small act is choosing to be positive. Over time, you will grow used to seeking out the positive.

  4. Flying after TBI

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    Life isn't the same following a traumatic brain injury. There are new things to consider and to plan for and new complications. Going on holiday is usually an exciting time, but for someone with TBI, it can also be stressful. It is important to note that many people with TBI are still able to go on some type of holiday, whether it is a local staycation or a more exotic holiday abroad. Read on for some tips and things to consider when flying after TBI.

    Flying after TBI | Head Forward

    Before you travel

    Before you go on holiday, be sure to:

    • Check with your GP or doctor that it is safe for you to travel. You may also want to check your ability to participate in certain activities that you may not normally do.
    • Check that your travel insurance policy covers any aids or equipment you may need to take with you.
    • Determine if you need any specific vaccinations before you travel. 
    • Make your requirements for assistance and/or mobility known to your airline, travel agent or operator when you book or at least 48 hours before you are due to travel. Ask for written confirmation of any assistance arrangements made.

    Your rights when flying with TBI

    According European Law Air Passenger Rights, if you are disabled or have difficulty moving around, you can receive free assistance when you fly to, from and within Europe. You should be aware that sometimes, however, the assistance you get may not meet your expectations and in some cases, your requirements may not be covered by the law. 

    Your airline or tour operator will have safety restrictions that might affect you getting the assistance you need. For instance, they may have restrictions on carrying oxygen cylinders you may need to be aware of.

    Sorting travel insurance

    Many insurance companies charge large premiums for people with pre-existing medical conditions, including brain injury. Airlines only have to pay limited compensation for any equipment damaged during flights, bear this in mind when you are choosing your travel insurnace provider. Remember to shop around to find a company with a policy that is best suited for you and your unique requirements. 

    Is travelling with TBI safe?

    Travelling with TBI can be different for each injured person. Generally speaking, having TBI is not a contraindication to air travel, however it is alwasy important to consult your GP before booking any flights and for any advice they may be able to give you to ensure safety whilst travelling with TBI.

    If something goes wrong

    If you do not receive the assistance you are entitled to, complain straight away to the airport or the airline. You can also make a complaint to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The CAA is the complaints handler in England, Scotland and Wales for complaints from disabled air passengers and persons with reduced mobility.

    How to contact the CAA:


    Consumer Advice Line: 020 7453 6888
    (Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM)

    If you are deaf or hearing impaired, please contact us via typetalk.

    Fax: 020 7453 6574

    Email: [email protected]

    Post: Passenger Advice and Complaints Team, Civil Aviation Authority, 4th Floor, CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE