It’s been two years since I started using Mightier with my kids and wrote this review. Check out the updates below.
Before we get into this review, I want to explain something. Many companies approach me, claiming they have the next big thing that will change the lives of autism families. With few exceptions, they almost always fail to deliver. I’m very careful when it comes to recommending something to my readers,
I was recently approached by Neuromotion Labs. They invited me to try out their program called Mightier. It was explained to me that Mightier helps kids learn to manage their emotions. The idea is pretty simple. Your child wears a wrist strap heart rate monitor and plays video games. It’s not solely for kids with autism either. According to Mightier, any child can benefit from this program because it’s based on biofeedback. Kids with autism, ADHD, ODD do particularly well, and after 10 weeks of use, parents see 60%+ reduction in meltdowns, 40% decrease in oppositional behavior, and 19% reduction in parental stress.
Backed up by Harvard Medical and Boston Children’s Hospital
These claims are impressive but I went into this a skeptic because I couldn’t imagine how playing video games would help a child learn to better manage their emotional states. My goal as a parent has always been to limit screentime. How could screentime help reduce meltdowns? I was skeptical but I decided to give it a try. Mightier is backed up by Harvard Medical and Boston Children’s Hospital and that’s impressive. If Mightier could improve my son’s life, I’m willing to give it a go.
I recently interviewed Dr. Jason Kahn on my podcast. Jason is a Developmental Psychologist, co-founder, and Chief Science Officer at Mightier. We talk about how Mightier works and how it can help kids and families better manage COVID19 lockdown. Listen above.
What is Mightier?
Mightier has been around for a long time. Developed and tested at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, the idea was to help kids better identify and manage their emotions. Emotional self-regulation is a vital skill that many kids struggle with, not just kids with autism, or ADHD. Mightier was actually designed for kids in general and it wasn’t until later that it was found to be especially helpful to kids on the autism spectrum.
Mightier works with popular video game developers to create an extensive library for players with different interests and skill levels. The Mightier component is integrated into these already amazing games.
How Does it Work?
It’s recommended that kids play just 45 minutes a week. There are no particular requirements in regards to scheduling these sessions. Whatever works best your family is fine. We tend to go over that 45-minute mark and that’s okay because it works well for us.
The games are actually really cool and lots of fun. Your child wears the Mightier band (which is sensory-friendly) while playing the game. The band essentially controls the difficulty setting of the game. When your child is frustrated, and their heart rate goes into the red, the game is impacted, becoming more difficult to play. The gameplay returns to normal when the child uses the skills they learn to calm down and reduce their heart rate.
Over time, your child begins to associate positive things with managing their emotions in a more productive, healthy way. It’s also important to know that your subscription (more on the subscription later) includes access to a masters level behavioral specialist. They are there to help you create a custom behavioral plan for your child and overcome any obstacles along the way. Basically, you work as a team to help your child. It’s all included and incredibly helpful, especially considering how many parents don’t currently have access to this type of service.
Why Does it Work?
I’ll break this down into its simplest form. Mightier is biofeedback for kids.
Biofeedback is the process of gaining greater awareness of many physiological functions primarily using instruments that provide information on the activity of those same systems, with a goal of being able to manipulate them at will. Wikipedia
Basically, your child learns to recognize when they are getting upset, frustrated, angry, or overwhelmed, and then deal with it in a constructive manner. They are shown ways that they can slow their heart rate down and get themselves calm or relaxed. As they practice these skills, the heart rate drops back into the blue and they are rewarded with better gaming experiences. Basically, they have more fun when they keep themselves calm. Your child will be able to defuse themselves before a meltdown even occurs if that makes sense. They can see their heart rate go up and down in realtime in response to how they feel. They learn there’s an obvious benefit to managing their emotions.
In other words. Mightier helps kids to become more self-aware of how they feel. They learn to recognize the signs that they are getting upset and then do things to calm themselves down before a meltdown or outburst occurs. They recognize the immediate impact on their game but eventually apply these same skills to everyday life.
As your child progresses through the games, they earn acorns which are the in-game currency. Acorns allow your child to unlock more games and continue to advance.
New games are introduced on a regular basis the whole thing is very simple to navigate. The current library has 25+ games, including two recipients of the Apple Editors Choice award and two games with more than a million downloads.
- After 10 weeks of use, the average family sees a 62% reduction in outbursts, a 40% reduction in oppositional behaviors, and a 19% reduction in parent stress.
- Three studies across seven years showed that kids built skills, behavior improved and stress at home declined.
- Mightier had years of both inpatient and outpatient clinical testing as well as in-home pilot programs before commercially launching.
- Boston Children’s Hospital
October 24, 2012
Video game with biofeedback teaches children to curb their anger. Read more
- Harvard Magazine
Jan – Feb 2011
Gaming the emotions. Read more
- Clinicaltrials.gov Whitepaper
RAGE Control: Regulate and Gain Emotional Control Learn more
- Partners Healthcare
RAGE-Control: Teaching emotional self-regulation through video gameplay Learn more
Download the Mightier Scientific Overview PDF
What’s Included and What Does It Cost?
Mightier is subscription-based. The pricing language on their site is confusing and I hear that pretty frequently from parents. My understanding is they are working to clarify it. I went ahead and did a full breakdown of the pricing, in this Mightier review in order to eliminate any confusion. This way you’ll know exactly what to expect should you decide to try this out.
Here’s the breakdown:
The cost is $40/month with a 30 day no questions asked return policy.
There are significant discounts for prepaid six-month and twelve-month subscriptions as well.
- $204 for 6 months (one-time fee – no monthly payments)
- $336 for 12 months (one-time fee – no monthly payments)
- If you’re a professional, they have professional plans as well. Click here for more information.
One subscription works for the whole family and includes:
- 1 Mighty Band heart rate monitor
- A dedicated tablet
- Mightier app and library of games (iOS and Android)
- An online hub to track your child’s process
- Access to a private community of Mightier parents.
Professional Help Is Included
Something that I want to make sure to highlight in this Mightier review is the access you receive to a behavioral specialist. This person is a masters level behavioral therapist who will help you build a custom behavioral plan for your child as well as help you overcome any obstacles along the way. This is all included in the subscription. Why is this important? It’s important because many parents out there don’t have access to these types of support services because they’re either not available or not covered by insurance. The fact this is all included in your subscription is amazing.
There is significant value here. It begins with a full 30 Day Free Trial and includes everything you need to get going. This is ideal for the entire family and can dramatically improve the quality of life for your child and yourself.
My Family’s Experience
Emmett is an absolutely brilliant kid, but he struggles with meltdowns and outbursts. His high level of intelligence can be disarming at times and lead to some unique challenges. I often forget that he’s emotionally delayed. Emmett struggles with outbursts and meltdowns when he’s frustrated, anxious or overwhelmed. This is a daily occurrence.
After using Mightier for a few weeks, Emmett is practicing the calming techniques taught within the games. Doing so keeps his heart rate in the normal range and the games more enjoyable. It’s cause and effect and he’s recognizing that. I even see him applying things like taking deep breaths to situations in real life, especially with his brothers. Just the other day I overheard him arguing with his brother. I tend to let them go because they need to learn to work things out. I keep a close eye on them, just in case. When things got to be too quiet, I went to check on them. Emmett was sitting on the couch taking deep breaths. I was completely blown away. As a parent, it’s such an awesome feeling to see my kids not only growing physically but emotionally as well.
We’ve been trying for years to help him regulate his emotions. He’s been in OT, PT, and cognitive behavioral therapy and it took something like Mightier for him connect the dots. I expect that as time goes on, he will continue to better manage his emotions and that’s amazing.
I Did Have Some Concerns
Honestly, I was a little concerned that Emmett would become frustrated with the process, and throw the tablet across the room. Fortunately, the opposite happened. He really likes it. I feel like it empowers him because he recognizes that he has control over his emotions. That’s a huge realization and a very positive thing in his life.
Emmett loves Mightier and plays it throughout the week. He likes the games and is gaining a better understanding of how his body reacts to stress, as well as ways he can calm his body down.
The Parenting Coach
As part of this Mightier review, I spoke with our Parenting Coach Emily, MSW, LICSW. This is included in the subscription. She was very knowledgeable and pleasant to speak with. We talked about Emmett and she answered all my questions about the Mightier program. It’s nice to know that we have someone we can reach out to if we need help with behavioral issues. We’re very lucky to have a solid support team for the kids, so we probably wouldn’t really need the coaching part of the subscription. That said, it’s nice to have the option, especially for the families who lack that type of support otherwise.
I’m very careful when it comes to things like this. I know that people trust me and I take that very seriously. That being said, Mightier is at the top of a very short list of things that I would absolutely recommend to friends or family. I would recommend this to any family because any child can benefit from these skills. I believe Mightier is a must-have tool for any parent. This is especially true for parents of kids with autism, and ADHD because of the increased need for help with emotional self-regulation.
Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical both back Mightier. The way Mightier approaches things is very friendly to kids of any age. It’s engaging, intuitive, and relevant. Most importantly, it works.
Secondly, Mightier includes professional help. You get access to certified behavioral specialists and they will help you build a behavior plan that works for your child. They can also help you overcome any obstacles along the way. This might be the only access to this type of support that families have and it’s all included. That’s a huge plus.
Mightier is a must-have parenting tool for any parent
I know how difficult managing meltdowns can be. I know it’s exhausting, overwhelming, frustrating, and heartbreaking. One of my missions has always been to help connect people with things that can improve their quality of life. This is especially true for my fellow autism parents. We need all the help we can get. I need all the help I can get. This is a tool that can help your child learn to manage their emotions. When your child experiences fewer meltdowns, their quality of life is increased. Honestly, that’s less stress for the rest of the family as well.
Please reach out with any questions you may have. I’ll try to keep this review updated as time goes on.
Two Years Later (08/2020)
I wanted to update my Mightier review as it’s been almost 2 years since we first began using it. Like everyone else in the world, I’ve been struggling to help my three boys with Autism, navigate the COVID19 lockdown. Their anxiety and stress are through the roof. For those who don’t know, I’m a single Dad raising my three autistic kids alone. My oldest is medically fragile and at high risk. As of today, We’ve been on COVID19 lockdown for 178 days. I thought now would be a good time to update my Mightier Review.
It’s exhausting and overwhelming just trying to keep everyone above water. Autism can sometimes make things a bit more complicated to deal with. Thankfully, Emmett has been spending more and more time playing Mightier lately. It’s helping him cope, as well as build new skills that allow him to manage his emotions in a healthier, more constructive way.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I need all the help I can get. Anything that makes life easier for my kids and improves their quality of life, makes things easier for me and reduces my overall stress levels. I’m seeing fewer meltdowns when Emmett uses Mightier and that makes things easier and more pleasant for everyone in my house. I’m utilizing every tool in my arsenal in order to get us through this and Mightier is one of those tools. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
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