Termotic, by tapp Ingenieria, was created for kids 8 and under on the spectrum. This is a useful app for all early learners who need to work on self-regulatory skills. A lot of times younger ones get caught up in the waves of emotion without being able to identify or describe what they are experiencing. As we all have witnessed the results of that intensity in meltdowns and other undesirable behaviors, this is one way to start helping break up that cycle by giving a name and validating a child’s experience. Once that is accomplished, you can then start to pair it with specific coping skills.
The thing I appreciate most about this app is that it can be tailored for use when working with an individual or group (i.e. circle time or social skills group). The app is flexible in that you can do a quick in and out to chronicle experience or use it as a teaching app during times when a child is calm and organized. The brevity helps keep the emphasis on the here and now and displays emotion as an everyday routine occurrence rather than it being drawn out and modeled for use as an opportunity for negative attention seeking or dramatic displays.
So let’s dive in and take a look at Termotics in more detail. On opening, you are able to register multiple users which are great for data keeping. You then have a choice between four emotional states: Happy, Sad, Bored or Mad. The next step is the intensity meter, which sets this app apart from others like it. Kids use a bar slider where it depicts the broad range of that emotion. As Happy can be anything from a small smile to a singing/dancing display of pure joy. Once selected you can save it in your diary and view it as a timeline as to what a child is experiencing and note trends or changes. There is also a game to play to extend teaching. By viewing actual photos and then trying to match them to a generic picture or visa-versa, kids are then able to view the corresponding effect with its intensity. How many kids do we all see that don’t know what it is to smile for a photo and what it is to smile at receiving a puppy? Playing the games allows time for beginning to rehearse or pair a variety of coping skills with different events. Settings for using choices of two, four or six pictures allows you to adjust to visual attention and scanning abilities and attention.
I would definitely recommend this app as a tool to help kids identify their experiences as well as the intensity of their emotional state. It is useful for data keeping and spotting trends to a child’s moods. It is important however to use it as a springboard for teaching coping skills as it is one thing to identify emotions, and another to help a child develop ways to deal with situations. You can be that model for change and expand a child’s repertoire to react to situations.
About the Author
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play every day; so that "her kids" grow up to be healthy independent learners.