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Amira’s Mightier Story

by Suzanne Wintner, MSW, LICSW, PhD

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Amira, whose mom Adrienne describes as very kind and fun and silly and funny, is a 5th grader who lives in Canada with her older sister, their parents, and their dog. Amira and her mom talked with Mightier recently about their family’s Mightier journey, and about Amira’s Autism, which is both a challenge and a superpower. Amira’s superpowers include her “great big memory and very strong brain.” Her challenges include having big feelings and learning to manage them. When we talked with Amira, she and her sister had been playing Mightier for more than a year. So far Amira has had more than 4,000 cooldowns in Mightier, which is equal to 4,000 moments of practice using coping skills in real time.

Why Mightier?

Adrienne heard about Mightier during a time when her daughters were working with treatment providers the family calls their “worry doctors.” Adrienne was hoping that treatment would help the children build calming skills, so they would feel better able to manage anxiety and frustration. At the time, Amira’s older sister was reluctant to use the techniques suggested by their doctors – things like belly breathing with stuffed animals, yoga, and meditation. Adrienne thought that Mightier could be a way for the kids to learn calming skills while playing on their iPads — something she knew they already enjoyed. She ordered Mightier, then wrapped it and hid it until the holidays.

Getting Started

The family’s Mightier journey started slowly. Adrienne had to prompt the kids to play Mightier before their other tablet time, and it wasn’t always easy to remember that she needed to prompt them. Amira’s older sister was interested immediately, but it took Amira a while to get into a regular play routine. Then the more she played and got used to the games, the more she liked it.

Seeing Progress

A couple months into their Mightier journey, Adrienne realized that Mightier was helping Amira. “Something happened that made Amira upset- which used to happen many times a day.” Her mom gave her a hug and told her everything was going to be okay — her usual response to Amira when she was upset. But this time was different — as Adrienne was hugging her daughter, she suddenly noticed that Amira was taking slow, deep, calming breaths. “I realized that she was using deep breathing to calm herself down, and that was the first time she had done that without me even suggesting it. And I was like ‘Ohhhh! It’s working!’.”

Adrienne’s Tips for Parents

Adrienne shared with us that she did wonder if Mightier was the right fit during Amira’s first two months of play. She just couldn’t tell if it was working that early on. A lot of the early Mightier changes happen internally, and it can take a while to see outward signs of progress. She connected with the Family Care Team a couple times and felt reassured. And then slowly and very subtly she noticed that Amira was getting better at handling her stress. But it didn’t happen overnight. She encourages families who are just starting with Mightier to give it some time.

The coolest thing about Mightier for Adrienne is that like many kids, her kids love tech time, and she doesn’t feel guilty giving them their iPad when it’s for Mightier. She feels good about it, and the kids feel excited. It’s something that makes them all happy. “There’s lots of things that doctors suggest that parents do with kids that kids don’t want to do with parents, like working on breathing — ‘I don’t want to do that with you.’ — or they just don’t want to do it at all.” Mightier was different from the start. “She wanted to do it, and she didn’t need me to do it with her. You can do it the way you want to do it, when you want to do it, and how you want to do it. It’s one of the most fun things we do that I know is fun for her and good for her.”

Advice from Amira

Amira recommends that kids practice the strategies in Mightier, “so they can use them in real life when they’re stressed.” She thinks Mightier is really fun. She likes collecting things, and thinks the lavalings are really cool. “Just get Mightier. It’s really fun. I think you’ll like it.”

Amira’s favorite games

  • Kitty in the Box
  • Unpossible

Amira’s sister’s favorites

  • Tumblestone, Kitty in the Box
  •  Unpossible, Robo Runner
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