Motional

Measuring and Improving
Emotional Health and Well-being

Information for Parents


It’s likely that you’ve been given this because your school or another service that helps look after your child is using an online tool called Motional.  Motional is designed to be used for all children in a setting, not just those who have been identified as needing a little extra support. We’d like you to know what it is and does, so you can better understand how this supports your child’s mental health and wellbeing.  

This article explains a bit about Motional – how and why we do what we do. You can always ask us directly if you have any questions – head to our website at motional.io and look for the pink circle. We can’t answer questions specifically about results or data stored on Motional – you’d need to ask your school or setting for that.

We believe that learning shouldn’t just be about academic results – that’s only one part of us growing into well-rounded human beings. We also need to learn about how and why we feel, think, react and behave in certain ways. Motional is a tool that helps the development of this area of life in the same way that other online tools might help develop maths or english.

If your child needed support with maths, a teacher would try and work out;

  • what knowledge your child has by looking at the answers given and what areas could do with some support
  • how they got to the answer by looking at the ‘working out’
  • why they got to a particular answer by looking at what they’ve learned about maths before

Then the teacher would help your child understand and develop using teaching, tools and support.

Motional is exactly the same – it helps adults and children understand the why (what emotional learning does your child already have), and work on the how (in certain situations what makes your child behave the way they do), so that the what (the actual behaviour and emotional skills you see) can change if necessary. 

 

What does Motional measure?


Some amazing ground-breaking research has been undertaken over the last few years that allows us to understand better the way that emotions and feelings are processed by the brain.

Motional measures different emotional systems in the brain (CARE, SEEKING, PLAY, FEAR, RAGE, PANIC/GRIEF based on Professor Jaak Panksepp’s work) and several key executive function skills (handling stress, thinking & concentration, confidence & self-esteem, interpersonal skills, and emotional literacy) to give a whole brain picture of a child’s emotional and mental health.

 

Step 1: Snapshot

The first step in the Motional process is for the adult working with your child to complete a Snapshot. This is a collection of questions that staff can answer to find out about your child’s emotional and mental health at school.  You could do the same with your child’s teacher to measure this at home. They’re things like: 

  • “Is Mo able to make friends and be warm, open and friendly?” 
  • “Does Charlie enjoy finding solutions to problems.” 
  • “Does Sally have explosive outbursts or temper tantrums?”

They’re scored by how often that thing happens – never, rarely, sometimes, often, or always. We save the answers to these questions in Snapshots and Motional uses the research to rank those answers and suggest how the brain is doing in processing emotional information.

This screen shot shows the results page for a Snapshot. There's a colour-coded horizontal bar graph with scores for each system, and a smaller circular gauge showing the summary scores.

From this we can move to Step 2:

 

Step 2: Program

We use the answers to the Snapshot questions to suggest things the adult can do to help your child’s emotional development.  The adult in the school or setting can then share these activities with you at home. Within Motional we call these ‘Programs’.

 

Step 3: Report

We recommend that Snapshots are completed at least once a term to help the school or setting best understand and support your child’s needs at that point in time.  The school or setting keeps track of these results on Motional so that staff can see progress and changes for individuals, and also for groups, so they can look at emotional growth in the same way as academic progress.

So put simply:  Motional is a tool that helps to support the emotional development of young people.