Saturday, September 6, 2014

10 Apps for Teaching Emotions and Calming Skills

My husband learned pretty early on in our marriage that telling me to "relax" when I was feeling stressed was not in his best interest. My response is always more favorable when he offers to help or even just listen. This came to mind when I read an article by behavior specialist, Jessica Minahan, on teaching children self-calming skills. As teachers, parents and therapists, we often tell children to relax or calm down, but many children don't know how and behavior can escalate. The article explains three simple steps to help kids learn to self-calm: teach students to identify emotions, teach students self-calming strategies and practice with the student. Be sure to read the full article here for some great suggestions on how to implement these steps. I've also rounded up ten apps that can be used to address these skills.

If you would like to download one or more of these apps, please show your support for Smart Apps for Special Needs by using the link(s) provided:

Apps for Identifying Emotions

Emotionary by Me.Mu
Emotionary by Me.Mu is an emotion diary tool designed for therapists (primarily speech-language therapists) or teachers who work with children and adolescents with autism, autism spectrum disorders, or similar mental disabilities. 

Understanding emotions is necessary in the development of social skills and empathy. While typical therapy often emphasizes recognition of emotions through flashcards, Emotionary by Me.Mu emphasizes the contexts in which they may appear. 

 A deeper understanding of emotions is achieved by having learners practice extracting relevant contextual information from their own lives, thus complementing other existing solutions and apps which focus on external or hypothetical scenarios.

(iPad only, Free)

S.E.E. Social Emotional Exchange by saym basheer
Social Emotional Exchange (S.E.E.) is an engaging and interactive way to teach children various human emotions by looking at facial expressions. S.E.E is inspired by the work of Dr. Paul Ekman's study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions. 

This app has been built from ground up with direct consultation of ABA therapists, while keeping kids with autism in mind.

(iPad only, $0.99)

Moody Monsters Manor by ALEX toys
Calling all kids who love monsters! Come with us to Moody Monster Manor. You can create your own monsters, play fun and exciting games, win monster merit badges, or meet the 20 monsters through the Moody Monster audio tour. 

 Moody Monster Manor is a place to learn about dealing with emotions through engaging and interactive games -- Zap Scared Sam’s bad dreams with your magical monster flashlight or whip up a pot of Stinky Sneaker Stew for Hungry Hank. Help Confused Carl throw a Monsterrific party or show your brainy side by breezing through Worried Wanda’s homework. 

 Whether you’re making the monsters a silly snack, rescuing them from a nightmare or helping them with homework, you’re always taking care of your Moody Monster friends and helping them solve their problems.

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

Emotions by I Can Do Apps by I CAN DO APPS, LLC
Emotions from I Can Do Apps is an educational tool designed in collaboration with a Speech Language Pathologist that allows you to introduce new concepts, practice identifying emotions, taking perspective / theory of mind, in a fun and simple way. This app focuses on helping individuals identify different facial expressions using real faces and test their understanding of emotions. Emotions include - happy, sad, scared, surprised and angry. 

 Emotions from I Can Do Apps is designed to be used by clinicians, families, educators and individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, social language disorders and behavioral challenges. 

Identifying, understanding, and responding to emotions are important skills for individuals to develop. These skills help us to develop relationships with others, identify their own feelings as well as others and then determine how to interpret emotions and respond appropriately in social situations.

(iPhone/iPad, $2.99)

Touch and Learn - Emotions by Innovative Mobile Apps
Touch and Learn is a powerful new gaming platform that allows you to introduce new concepts in a fun and exciting new way. This app focused on helping kids read body language and understand emotions by looking at gorgeous pictures and figuring out which person is expressing a given emotion.

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

Apps for Calming 

Smiling Mind by Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind is modern meditation for young people. It’s a simple tool that gives a sense of calm, clarity and contentment. 

 Smiling Mind is a unique web and App-based program developed by a team of psychologists with expertise in youth and adolescent therapy, Mindfulness Meditation and web-based wellness programs. Smiling Mind is a free tool that will assist in improving the lives of young people, and is available online or as a smartphone App. 

 In recent years, Mindfulness Meditation has surged in popularity for use in the treatment of stress, resilience, anxiety, depression and other physical and mental illnesses. Highly regarded institutions such as UCLA, Harvard, Oxford, Monash and Melbourne Universities have developed clinical studies into the positive impacts of Mindfulness Meditation on health and general wellbeing.

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

Kids Yogaverse: I AM LOVE by Gramercy Consultants
We step onto our magic mat and fly through the ancient lands of Egypt. We are as strong as a mountain, as silly as a Laughing Dove and as playful as a dolphin. Dive deep into the Red Sea to discover indigenous curiosities, like a long-lost sphinx! This beautifully hand-drawn Kids Yogaverse app incorporates 13 yoga poses for children demonstrated by children. Get ready to open your heart, expand your mind and reveal that YOU are the real treasure to love. 

I AM LOVE was created to help kids feel great about themselves. This mobile application empowers young children through strength, fitness and breath affirmations. Our story reinforces color recognition, introduces wondrous nature and animals, and reveals the cultural value of our world. By embracing a myriad of learning styles, we reach the visual learner by images, the audio learner by reading the story, and the tactile learner by connecting the imagery and words with movement. Parents, teachers and educators can take part in this interactive experience with the children by learning optimal alignment in the yoga poses and educational facts about how the pose affects the mind, body and spirit.

(iPhone/iPad, $1.99)

Take A Chill - Stressed Teens by Channel Capital, LLC
As a teen, there are moments in your life when you’re really stressed and just need to “Take a Chill.” This app is full of tools to help manage that stress, and bring mindful practices into a daily routine. Using quick mindful exercises and thoughtful activities, begin to overcome those moments whether it’s studying for a test or preventing negative thoughts and patterns. 

Features included in app: 
Quick Exercises - two illustrated exercises for in-the-moment situations. 
 Daily Dose - Daily activities to help reinforce concepts and increase your mindful practice 
 Audio - Free audio tracks to accompany exercises 
 Progress - See your progress and activity overtime 
 Reminders - keep yourself motivated with 3 types of Reminders Stress 
Assessment - quick assessment to find out how stressed you might be 
Notes - A notepad to quickly jot any notes or insights that come to mind for later 
 Motivational Quotes - Receive a new motivational quote after each use

(iPhone/iPad, $1.99)

"Enchanted Meditations for Kids 1" by Christiane Kerr by Diviniti Publishing Ltd.
Suitable for boys & girls aged 3-9 years, these recordings are created to to bring a sense of calm and wellbeing and to help children improve their focus and concentration.Children can float away on an enchanted journey that will leave them feeling happy and relaxed, whilst developing confidence and creativity. 

 Allow the beauty of Christiane's gentle voice and relaxation techniques to transport you away to the underwater world of the dolphins and the magic of the rainbow. This CD is a wonderful relaxation tool for use at home or at school. 

 Enchanted Meditations For Kids 1 APP Features: 
 * Four deeply relaxing audio tracks between four and ten minutes long: Jellyfish Relaxation, An Underwater Dolphin Ride, Rainbow Relaxation and The Magic Rainbow. 
 * All audio's feature high quality professional recording techniques. 
 * Christiane Kerr's beautiful calm reassuring voice guiding you into a completely relaxed state of mind & body. 
 * A page where your children will be instructed in a yoga posture which will help to increase the ability to feel calm and relaxed.The yoga pose "Tree" is shown with full instructions of how to adopt the pose,encouraging children to have resources for feeling strong, confident, yet happy & relaxed at any time of day.

(iPhone/iPad, $2.99)

Humming Timer by Richardo Fonseca
Humming Timing is a timer app, a fun way of counting down time using your music library. 

 You can use it for any activity you like, from cooking that perfect egg ending on U2's One, to timing your exercise's ending with the end of Jamiroquai's Virtual Insanity. 

 Requires songs in your music library.

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

Sarah thinks daily pedicures might just be the secret to always feeling calm and relaxed.

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