Group administrators can help a user with cognitive impairment have a successful start with BrainHQ. Here are several tips:
Create The User Account Ahead of Time: Create a BrainHQ account for the user using the tools in the group portal before your user starts training. Write down the user’s email and the password you have chosen on the standard BrainHQ form (which is available for download here) and give it to the user so they have a record of this information.
Explain the Core Concepts of Brain Training: Before the user starts, you should explore a few of the core concepts of brain training so that the user knows what to expect, and is not surprised or discouraged. In particular, you should explain the following:
- The training is adaptive: The exercise will get harder as the user gets answers correct, and get easier as the user gets answers incorrect. It’s normal to get answers incorrect. The user shouldn’t be frustrated or discouraged; that’s just how BrainHQ finds the right level of challenge for the user.
- Exercises are repeated: Repetition is essential to driving positive brain plasticity. All BrainHQ exercises are designed to challenge any person and result in 70% to 90% correct responses. Through repetition and positive feedback for correct responses, BrainHQ trains accuracy.
Go Through The Introductory Level With the User: When a new user first starts BrainHQ, they are given a first introductory training level, which provides additional coaching and instruction so that they can learn the basics of brain training works. You should sit with your user and go through this introductory training level together. Your user may have additional questions as they do the training that you can help answer.
Set Their Weekly Goal: The default training goal is 24 levels per week. On the average, each level takes about two-and-half minutes to complete, so that should be about 60 minutes of training. However, your user may take longer than the average to complete a level. You may want to lower their weekly goal at first, to give them a goal that they can achieve and that will be motivating for them. You can set a goal by impersonating them from the group portal, and selecting “Goals” from the drop-down menu on the right.
Focus on the BrainAQ Progress Measure: The BrainAQ progress measure is designed to increase as a user trains regularly - earning stars and working on new levels - and slowly decease if a user stops training. It’s a particularly good measure for your users who do not want the competitive concerns of the percentile ranking scores. Remember, half of the users will score below the 50th percentile - and users with cognitive impairment may score quite low. Reviewing percentile scores may be discouraging for such users. The BrainAQ score is very different - it tracks a user’s progress since the start of their training, and does not compare users to each other. As long as your user is training regularly, they’ll be rewarded by seeing the score go up, which should contribute to their motivation to keep training!
Training Under Your Supervision
If your user will train under your supervision (at least for a period of time), you can go further in supporting their use of BrainHQ. In particular, for each new exercise, you should sit with your user, and go through the first level when it is introduced in the Personal Trainer to ensure that your user understands how to do the exercise. Remember, you and your user can always review the exercise instructions by clicking on the “i” icon in the lower right corner of the exercise, and you and your user can always watch a brief video tutorial by clicking on the “?” icon.
Training At Home
If your user will train at home with you checking in from time to time, then you should (if possible) involve their caregiver or supporter in BrainHQ as well. You can create a BrainHQ account for that person as well, and encourage that person to train regularly. This person can then be a resource to your user for light technical support, and motivation and encouragement to continue training. An added benefit is that BrainHQ may be of benefit to this support person as well, and training with a friend/partner/loved one can make training more fun!
Also, if your user is training at home, work with them to define a set of specific times of day on specific days of the week that they will train with BrainHQ that fits into their schedule. You can then set reminders for them so they get email or text message reminders right before their scheduled training times. You can set a reminder by impersonating them from the group portal, and selecting “Reminders” from the drop-down menu on the right.