MITA FAQs

GENERAL QUESTIONS

 

How do I get MITA?
MITA app is available for free on Google Play, iTunes App Store, and Amazon App Store.

 

What devices can I install MITA on?
You can install MITA on almost any smartphone or tablet, however, kids often perform better on larger tablets such as the iPad 2 or later (best option), or the 7-inch Kindle Fire (3rd generation, 2013, or later).

 

I plan to purchase a tablet to administer MITA to my child. What is the least-expensive tablet I can buy?
We recommend the Kindle Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB for 49.99.

 

Does MITA need WiFi to work?
You do not need WiFi to enjoy MITA. You will only need WiFi connection when you initially download the app.

 

HOW DOES MITA WORK FOR CHILDREN?

 

What age(s) is MITA suited for?
We expect MITA to have the greatest benefit for kids ages 2-8, and moderate benefit for older kids. Take into account that MITA uses adaptive-learning technologies, meaning that the exercises will adapt to a child’s performance, resulting in a customized learning experience. Even some adults find the puzzles challenging, espessially at higher difficulty levels.

 

What type of games are available in the MITA app?
There are 9 different games available in MITA: Outlines (easy), Patches (easy/intermediate/advanced), Matching (easy), Wooden Puzzles (easy), Odd-one-out (intermediate), Elephant Combo (intermediate), Toy Combo (advanced), Analogies (advanced) and Language Game (intermediate & advanced).

All of the games in MITA target a child’s ability to notice and respond to multiple visual cues presented simultaneously. This ability is typically impaired in individuals with autism, leading to what is commonly described as stimulus overselectivity, or “tunnel vision.” Improving the capacity to discern and respond to multiple cues has been shown to reduce stimulus overselectivity, which in turn leads to vast improvements in general learning.

MITA is based on Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), one of the best-supported therapies for children diagnosed with ASD.

 

Why do all the answers have to be dragged into place? Why not just tap the correct answer?
All ImagiRation games involve dragging the answer into the correct position. We never use the tap interaction in our puzzle exercises. While tapping on the correct answer may be easier for a child, there are several reasons for why we decided to only use the drag-and-drop mechanism.

First, using drag-and-drop avoids accidental answers. Any unintentional touch of the screen in the area where answers are shown results in the program counting an incorrect solution. In an adaptive game environment, this may result in the erroneous reduction of a game’s difficulty level just because a child unintentionally tapped an answer on the screen.

Second, tapping the screen does not involve much effort. Children often end up intentionally tapping on all answers until the correct answer is found. Such a trial-and-error approach does not benefit a child’s cognitive development. Drag-and-drop, on the other hand, forces the child to invest a lot of his attention into holding and dragging the solution into the correct position. This provides an additional incentive to first solve puzzles mentally, and only then drag the answer into position.

Finally, drag-and-drop mechanism improves a child’s fine-motor control. Improvement of fine motor control has shown to be associated with improvements in cognitive development as well.

 

My child sometimes picks up an object accidentally when solving puzzles. Does this count against his overall MITA Score and the game-level difficulty?
We try out best to not count accidental drags towards your child’s overall score. If the app can tell the drag was accidental, we eliminate this data so that it does not affect the adaptivity of MITA or the progress in levels. You will notice that incorrect answers will result in Mr. Smiley reacting, while during accidental drags he will not provide any feedback.

 

My child seems more entertained by apps like Puzzingo or 22Learn than MITA. Are apps that are more visually stimulating better?
It is hard to decide which apps have educational value and which do not. We recognize that many of the apps out there for kids may look similar to you – they all have pieces that need to be dragged into targets.

Given the choice, children will want to play the easiest games that provide the most sensory stimulation. However, MITA is currently the only app on the market that allows kids to develop the ability to respond to multiple features. This ability is absolutely essential for language development. While other apps may look more engaging, they do not address the most significant problem of language acquisition: the understanding of syntax.

Learning new words can be done throughout your whole life. However, the acquisition of neural networks essential for understanding syntax has a short, critical period that can only be learned in childhood.

To avoid the problem of your child switching to a different app on his own, we suggest locking the device to the MITA app during MITA therapy. It is very easy to lock a device on any app. Please read How can I lock my device so that my child doesn’t get distracted with other apps below

 

Is there any benefit in guessing the answer?
The benefits of solving puzzles greatly diminish if a child is relying on trial-and-error as opposed to active mental simulation. Please make sure your child really thinks about the answers instead of guessing. Encourage your child to solve puzzles mentally, and only then drag the answer into position.

 

How will I know how my child is doing?
We are pleased to introduce the MITA Progress Report, which can be found by navigating to the Parent’s Corner of MITA. This section features a number of parameters to help you track how your child is progressing in his or her therapy. This includes the MITA Achievement Score and the Success Rate metrics, as well as tools to visualize your child’s performance over any time period. To access the Progress Report, tap Parent’s Corner > Progress.

In addition, we ask parents and facilitators to fill out an Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) every 3 months while using MITA. Many parents and teachers use the ATEC to monitor how well a child is doing over time. In addition, researchers have used the ATEC to document improvement following an intervention by comparing the baseline ATEC scores with the post-treatment ATEC scores.

The ATEC is not a diagnostic checklist. It provides several subscale scores as well as a total score to be used for comparison at a later date. Basically, the lower the score, the fewer the problems. Thus, if a person scores a ’20’ during the initial evaluation, and then a ’15’ three months later, then the individual showed improvement. In contrast, if the score was ’30,’ then the individual’s behavior worsened.

 

How long is the MITA app good for?
With consistent usage, a child could complete all MITA games in 2 to 5 years.

 

English is not my family’s native language. Can my child still use MITA?
The methodology behind MITA does not rely on knowledge of any particular language. MITA is used by children all over the globe.

The only game that uses words is the Language Game. However, the game teaches a dozen or so words slowly and gradually. All the other games are visual, so children of any tong can use MITA.

We are planning to translate MITA into multiple languages soon! If you want to help us with translations, please let us know.

 

CUSTOMIZING THE MITA THERAPY

 

My child gets tired and isn’t able to complete a daily MITA path. There are too many games and puzzles before the big PlayTime reward. What can I do?
If you feel your child is struggling with too many puzzles or games before being rewarded with Playtime, you can adjust the # of puzzles and games your child needs to complete in his/her daily session. Simply navigate to Parent’s Corner > Settings to make adjustments.

You can also try the following:

  • Allow your child to take physical breaks between puzzles.
  • Occasionally supplement MITA’s Playtime with a rewarding activity of your child’s choice.
  • Some kids prefer two (or more) shorter sessions dispersed throughout the day instead of one long session.

 

My child has sensory issues and prefers that the MITA sound is OFF. What can I do?
MITA games can all be played without sound with the exception of the Language Game. Simply mute the sound on your device to remove MITA sound. To remove the Language Game from the MITA path on the homescreen, head to Settings in the Parent’s Corner and un-check the Language game.

 

How can I lock my device so that my child doesn’t get distracted with other apps?
We recommend locking your device to MITA so that your child can focus on exercises.

For iPad and iPhone:

  1. Launch Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. In the Learning section, tap General > Accessibility > Guided Access. Toggle Guided Access On.
  3. Tap on Set Passcode and choose a passcode that only you will know. Toggle Accessibility Shortcut to Off.

Once Guided Access is enabled, if your child tries to leave the app, a banner message will appear telling them to triple-click the Home button to exit. If they don’t know the passcode, they won’t be able to exit Guided Access.

We also recommend you disable multitasking on your iPad:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on General > Multitasking > Turn Off.


For Android smartphone and tablet:
Download Touch Lock – Toddler Lock

For Amazon Kindle Fire:
Download Kids Place – Parental Control

 

My child is struggling to finish the MITA path. What should I do?
To make it easier for your child to reach Playtime, please do the following:

  • Reduce the number of games in a daily session. You can do so in the pull-down menu at the top of the Settings
  • Reduce the number of puzzles that your child must complete for each game to as little as 5 puzzles.
  • Eliminate the games that your child is struggling with by unchecking the box to the left of the game’s name. We have arranged the games roughly in the order of difficulty, but please keep in mind that every child will have their own strengths and preferences.
  • You can also reduce the difficulty level for any of the games (though please note that we discourage that you do this since each game will adapt automatically to the optimal difficulty level).

 

The MITA path is too easy for my child. What should I do?
To make it more challenging for your child to reach playtime please do the following:

  • Increase the number of games your child must play before they reach playtime. You can do that in a pull-down menu at the top of the Settings page.
  • Increase the number of puzzles that your child must complete for each game to as many as 20 puzzles.
  • Add more difficult games to the child’s daily path, by checking the box to the left of the game’s name. Note that MITA is adaptive and will add all the more difficult games automatically when it concludes that the child is ready.
  • You can also increase the difficulty level for any of the games , (though please note that we discourage that you do this since each game will adapt automatically to the optimal difficulty level).

 

I am a speech therapist and use MITA with multiple children of different ages and levels of ability. Can I create user accounts for multiple kids using MITA?

We currently do not have the ability to create multiple accounts. However, you have full control over the types of puzzles that show up on the main screen as well as the levels of difficulty for each game. Simply navigate to Parent’s Corner > Settings to make adjustments.

I want to use MITA with more than one child. Can I do that?
We currently do not have the ability to create multiple accounts. Since MITA is adaptive in both the selection of games and in each game’s difficulty level, the same device should not be used for more than one child. We highly recommend assigning each child a personal device. This way the device will adapt the child’s game setup and difficulty level in each game.

You can install MITA on almost any smartphone or tablet, however, kids often perform better on larger tablets such as the iPad 2 or later (best option), or the 7-inch Kindle Fire (3rd generation, 2013, or later).

 

TECHNICAL QUESTIONS & TROUBLESHOOTING

 

Can I transfer my child’s data from one device to another?
At this time, you cannot transfer data automatically to a new device.

However, you can go to Parent’s Corner>Settings and manually copy all of the settings from the old device to the new device. That will ensure that your child will resume the MITA therapy from where he or she left off on the old device.

 

The app has no sound! What can I do?
If MITA has no sound, do the following:

  1. Move the ring/silent switch into the ring mode. (The app is muted by iOS in the silent mode). If your iPad does not have a ring/silent switch, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center. Tap on the bell icon to turn it on – it should become white.
  2. Use the sound volume buttons to increase the device volume.
  3. Turn sound on inside MITA app by toggling ON the sound button in the top right corner of the home screen.

 

MITA freezes and won’t load onto the next screen. What can I do?
Try restarting your device and open MITA again.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

I am a researcher. Can I use MITA in my clinical trials?
Please contact us and we can discuss your specific needs.

MITA is currently being used in Boston University’s Apps for Language Enhancement Study (AppLES), led by Helen Tager-Flusberg, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Autism Research Excellence.

 

Are there any physical games for cognitive development that you can recommend that are well-suited for children with ASD?
Here are several physical games that we highly recommend:

 

How can I connect with other parents and families who are using MITA with their kids?
Please post you comments and questions on the MITA Discussion Board on Reddit.