UCLA Nathanson Family Resilience Center Releases New FOCUS On the Go! Mobile App for Families

The UCLA Nathanson Family Resilience Center is pleased to announce the release of FOCUS On the Go!, a new resiliency gaming and resource mobile application now available for free download on the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad.  FOCUS On the Go! is designed to engage children in learning and practicing key resilience skills and provide parents with educational resources that are consistent with the Families OverComing Under Stress™ (FOCUS) model. FOCUS On the Go! includes four games that reinforce skill building around problem solving, emotional regulation, and family communication.

Since FOCUS On the Go's release on May 7, 2013, more than 1,500 families have downloaded the app. 

Families say FOCUS On the GO! is "Amazing!," "Awesome," and "Great for all ages - even teenagers!"

“We are very excited to launch FOCUS On the Go! as a first-of-its-kind, family-centered mobile application for enhancing family resilience,” says Patricia Lester, M.D., Director of the UCLA Nathanson Family Resilience Center.  “This mobile app is a fun and engaging tool for busy Military and Veteran families and their children. They are able to connect and learn new ways to communicate and stay strong in the context of the family’s daily lives.”

FOCUS On the Go! includes a suite of games to help children, adolescents and parents build resilience skills.  Family members play alongside Buddy Bear to practice identifying and talking about feelings and to collect tools for calming down in challenging situations.  Children and families can solve problems in Bear Necessities, create a story and share it in Comic Creator, catch relaxation tools in Bear Chill, and search for feeling words in Feeling Finder.

FOCUS On the Go! offers games and resources appropriate for the whole family, not just children. Parents can spend time with their children while they find feeling words or create a comic.  Within the Parent’s section of the app, they can also watch videos and download activities to do as a family.

The Parent’s section also includes Family Resilience Check-Ins (FRCIs), which provide standardized, real-time resilience assessments for each family member and the family as a whole.  The resulting personalized feedback reports highlight family strengths and indicate areas for improvement.

Providers and families who tested FOCUS On the Go! during its final stages of development are excited about app’s potential to help families in innovative ways.

“FOCUS On the Go! is a great resource for students to recognize and express their feelings in appropriate ways,” says elementary school teacher Donna Godkins.  “The mobile app also gives parents, grandparents and teachers insight into the child as they play the games together.  The games and resources help them to recognize the child’s emotional triggers and practice strategies to help redirect those behaviors.”

"One thing that I really like about FOCUS On the Go! is how it can be used by the whole family and in any setting,” says Stephanie Self-Bence, FOCUS Family Resilience Trainer.  “The games are fun and interactive, while teaching and reinforcing FOCUS resiliency skills and concepts. I also like that there is a section for parents to get more information and to download helpful worksheets. I could really see parents using these activities because they are literally right at their fingertips."

FOCUS On the Go! is free to download on the iTunes App Store.

To learn more about ways to build a stronger family using FOCUS On the Go!, visit http://nfrc.ucla.edu/focus-on-the-go or www.facebook.com/FOCUSOntheGoApp.