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Brain Injuries

Navigating Technology with Post-Concussion Syndrome: Challenges and Solutions


Since sustaining a concussion in a car crash in 2016, I’ve gone through various stages of recovery and have found several technology tools, such as apps, online platforms and software, to be invaluable in helping me with different aspects of my day-to-day life. 

Technology has helped me, particularly with home and work organisation and tasks; enhancing my memory; improving my spoken and written communication and boosting my physical and mental well-being. 

I’ll be discussing using technology with post-concussion syndrome (PCS) or a mild brain injury in two separate blog posts as it’s such a big topic. 

In this post, I’ll outline some of the problems people with PCS or mild brain injury might encounter when using technology. I’ll then explain how they can take steps to overcome some of those challenges. 

In part 2 on this topic, I'll share some specific tools I’ve used to organise and enhance my life that you may find invaluable too.

Challenges of using technology for people with PCS or a mild brain injury

Some of the common challenges that people with PCS or a mild brain injury may face when using technology include:

  1. Cognitive overload: If there’s a complex interface, too much information or a steep learning curve, then a person may feel overwhelmed and experience fatigue, brain fog and processing difficulties which can negatively affect their ability to use the technology. Features such as intricate menus, complicated settings or multi-step processes can make it challenging to navigate and customise these features. Sometimes, it can be hard to locate specific features or tools within software applications, making it a struggle to complete tasks efficiently. The combination of cognitive challenges and technology-related difficulties may lead to a person feeling stressed and frustrated and this emotional impact can further affect their ability to effectively use the technology.
  2. Multi-tasking struggles: Managing multiple tasks simultaneously may be difficult for a person with PCS or a mild brain injury. Technology that requires multitasking, such as juggling between different software applications, can be overwhelming and lead to lower productivity.
  3. Memory challenges: A person may struggle with remembering passwords, project details, key deadlines or how to use specific tools, making it harder to effectively use a particular technology.
  4. Visual and sensory overload: Bright screens, flashing or noisy notifications, loud sounds, bright colours or detailed designs in applications may trigger sensory overload, causing a person discomfort or to feel distracted. This may cause eye strain, hearing sensitivity or headaches. It may also hinder their ability to focus and pay attention.
  5. Inconsistent focus and attention: Focus and attention on digital tasks may be a challenge for some people when using a specific technology. Difficulty maintaining attention for extended periods may result in either not completing or overlooking certain tasks. It may also be a struggle to filter out irrelevant information, leading to distraction and reduced productivity.
  6. Time management issues: Organising work schedules, managing deadlines and prioritising tasks are essential skills for effective time management and all of these can be a challenge post-injury. Organisational tools often require setting reminders or creating schedules which may also be problematic for people.
  7. Communication challenges: Effective communication online can be challenging for a person with PCS. For example, they may struggle with processing written information, responding to emails or taking part in virtual meetings. This might negatively impact their ability to collaborate with colleagues or interact with customers or clients.
  8. Motor coordination challenges: Individuals with PCS or a mild brain injury may experience difficulties with fine motor skills, making it challenging to navigate touchscreens, use a keyboard or mouse or interact with any technology requiring precise movements, accuracy or a certain amount of speed.
  9. Limited awareness of assistive features: Many technology tools offer assistive features that can benefit people with mild brain injuries. However, a lack of awareness or understanding of these features may mean their use is limited. Also, it can be hard to find out about tools that are specifically designed for people with brain injury. It may be worth asking a friend or family member to do some online research for you to see what relevant assistive digital technologies are available.

Can you relate to any of the above challenges? I can honestly say that I’ve experienced all of them at one time or another during the past 7 years since my injury. Things have improved over time but there are certain challenges I still have when it comes to using technology.

Different ways people with PCS or a mild brain injury can improve the experience of using technology

So, how can you simplify your use of different technologies and make it a better experience for yourself? Below, I’ll list some ways you can do this.

  1. Develop awareness: Notice when you’re getting tired or losing focus and stop. I suggest building up your usage slowly, even starting with just 5 minutes at a time and you’ll find that, after a while, you’ll be able to use technology for longer.
  2. Start small: Start out using just one or two items of technology initially so you don’t get confused and overwhelmed. Get used to using those. Figure out how to find your way around them and get the most out of them. Then explore and introduce new ones. Trying to do too much at once will be counterproductive and leave you feeling frustrated.
  3. Use user-friendly apps, software and tools: Choose intuitive and straightforward applications with simple interfaces. Look for tools that prioritise ease of use and minimise unnecessary complexity, are customisable and have clear instructions.
  4. Customise settings: Adjust device and software settings to suit your preferences. This includes font size, colour schemes and notification preferences. (Switching off or reducing the number of notifications is a game-changer!) Personalising these settings can enhance usability and reduce visual and sensory overload and strain.
  5. Reduce screen glare: If screen glare on your mobile phone or computer is a problem for you due to light sensitivity, then I suggest using a coloured screen filter, available to download for free online. F.lux is a free screen filter you can download for your PC or laptop (available from For phones, most Android and Apple phones have a blue light filter feature in the settings and the screen can be dimmed. On Apple phones, this feature is called Night Shift. Alternatively, you can use tinted coloured glasses (such as these reasonably-priced ones from Happyeye,
  6. Reduce noise: If noise sensitivity is a problem for you then keep the sound settings low. Try to minimise the number of different sounds you’re exposed to at any one time. So, for example, don’t try to multitask with different noisy applications or technologies; work in a quiet room; use noise-cancelling headphones to block out excess noise from your surroundings; use captions to read instead of listen if that’s an option and if that’s better for you.
  7. Implement shortcuts and favourites: Create shortcuts or favourites for frequently used apps or tools. This streamlines access to essential functions and reduces the cognitive load of navigating through multiple menus.
  8. Limit notifications: Minimise unnecessary distractions by adjusting notification settings. Disable non-essential alerts and limit notifications to critical information to create a less overwhelming digital environment.
  9. Organise digital spaces: Keep digital spaces well-organised. Create folders, name files simply and clearly and arrange apps or shortcuts logically on your device's home screen. This organisation simplifies the navigation and retrieval of information.
  10. Use reminders and alarms: Use built-in reminder features and alarms to prompt important tasks or events. Setting up reminders can compensate for memory challenges and assist in maintaining a structured routine.
  11. Use voice commands: Explore voice recognition features available in many devices and applications. Using voice commands can eliminate the need for extensive typing and make interacting with technology more natural.
  12. Focus on core functions: Identify the essential functions of a device or application and concentrate on using those features. Avoid unnecessary features that may contribute to confusion and focus on the primary tasks at hand.
  13. Choose easily-accessible devices: Choose devices with straightforward interfaces and tactile feedback. Consider touchscreen devices or those with large, well-spaced buttons for easier navigation.
  14. Provide clear instructions: Create step-by-step guides or cheat sheets for using specific technologies. Clear, concise instructions can serve as quick references, making it easier for you to follow procedures without feeling overwhelmed.
  15. Use assistive technologies: Many user-friendly assistive technologies are available, some of which can be tailored to the individual's needs. Examples include screen readers and speech-to-text software. Employers can play a crucial role in creating an inclusive work environment that accommodates the specific requirements of individuals with mild brain injuries. Having an occupational health assessment at work may help to identify technologies that can help a person do their job to their fullest ability so don’t hesitate to ask for one of these.
  16. Regularly review and update technology: Stay current with software updates and regularly review the technology you use. Updates often include improvements to user interfaces, bug fixes and enhanced features that can positively impact usability.


Technology can prove to be difficult to use for people with PCS or mild brain injury, especially in the early days. Over time, it should get easier to navigate, particularly if you implement some of the strategies and tips above. Keep trying and don’t give up but do take regular breaks or stop using a particular technology for a while if it becomes all too much.

With determination, perseverance, practice and repetition, you should find that various technologies become invaluable in helping you organise your life and carry out different daily tasks, enhancing your life significantly.

In part 2, I’ll list some specific technologies that are suitable for people with PCS and brain injury, including some that I've personally found useful and continue to use today.

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