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Leveraging Persuasive Tech for Self-Care in Individuals with "Unique Traits"

Coined by Dr. B.J. Fogg at Stanford, "persuasive technology" focuses on harnessing technology to shape our beliefs and actions. For technology to persuade, Fogg outlines three key principles: it should motivate and incentivize the user; simplify the desired new behavior; and crucially, act as a prompt for that behavior. The number of triggers needed is determined by the ease of the new behavior and the user's motivation level.

This tech philosophy perfectly aligns with the ethos of self-directed care. This approach empowers individuals with disabilities to assess their needs, decide how they're met, and evaluate the quality of received services. Embracing this autonomy can be transformational for those with physical, cognitive, or mental health challenges, boosting their independence and overall well-being.

On a personal note, this topic holds deep resonance for me. My youngest daughter, after a decade-long battle with seizures and a subsequent life-changing surgery, became a beacon of resilience. Despite her challenges, she identifies not as "disabled," but as having "unique traits."

Brain injuries present a challenging recovery path, marked by fluctuating motivation and abilities. While the injured often have a blurred memory of the event, their drive for independence remains. Herein lies the challenge for caregivers, who while ensuring safety, often face resistance.

We’ve observed that user-friendly design is pivotal for sustained app engagement, a fact underscored for those recovering from brain injuries. Feedback and usage tracking are invaluable. If a user struggles with a task that should take seconds, it might indicate a design flaw. While most with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) proficiently use smartphones, the key is creating intuitive apps that assist their recovery journey. Great designs, inspired by Dr. Fogg's work, can incorporate simple cues to ensure consistent engagement. For instance, if a user doesn't interact, they get a gentle nudge: "It's time to share your day with us." Such prompts are crucial for sustained user engagement and recovery progress. Simple, intuitive design is our mantra.

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