EmotionTouch is based on the pioneering book The Incredible 5-Point Scale by Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis. It is designed to help individuals with anxiety, ADHD, and on the autism spectrum to express themselves and to take concrete steps to relieve anxiety and distress. Simply by touching a button a user can indicate where (s)he is on the 5-point scale. From there users will be taken to a customizable list of activities to help get back to a 1 on the scale. The app also features a log of levels on the 5-point scale and the activities chosen each time. The results of a day or week's worth of activity can be emailed for later review to look for patterns in levels of anxiety and to see which interventions are most effective to help get back to a 1.

How it Works

The purpose of EmotionTouch is to help users get "Back to 1." For general information on using the 5-point scale, visit www.5pointscale.com.

Here is an example of how to use EmotionTouch: A parent has a child on the autism spectrum who has meltdowns or outbursts that may even become violent. Frequently the child shows signs that his anxiety is rising well before a meltdown, but he may unable to express himself verbally. The EmotionTouch app gives him a safe and effective way to say that he needs help. Simply follow the following steps:

Record Data

To use EmotionTouch give the child many opportunities to express where he is on the 5-point scale. Often he will be at a 1, and he is simply checking in. At times he may indicate that he is at a 2. Touching Level 2 takes him to another screen with a list of activities from which he will choose one to get Back to 1. His anxiety may continue to rise to a Level 3. At a 3 he has another list of choices of activities to get Back to 1, but it is important at this point to help him get to a safe calm down space and away from the source(s) of the anxiety. At a 4 the parent can model calming strategies and help to deescalate, but this is not typically a time for asking a child to make choices. At a 5 the child is having a meltdown and the priority is to keep him safe as well as others who may be nearby. By using the app consistently, even if a person gets to this level, he will already have been guided to a safe space where he is unlikely to hurt himself or others.

Send Report

Periodically, users can email a log of scale interactions to oneself or others. This information can help to determine whether there are specific times of day or particular stressors that cause a person to move to a higher level. Maybe there is a consistent pattern of Levels 2 and 3 just before lunch. Perhaps a morning snack could help. Users can also see whether there are certain activities that are more or less effective.


  1. Easy to navigate list of anxiety levels
  2. Customizable lists of calming strategies to help "Get Back to 1"
  3. Data collection capabilities and easy sharing to help caregivers identify potential trouble spots in a day
  4. Each time an individual indicates a Level, EmotionTouch logs the time and level chosen
  5. When an individual chooses a calming strategy, EmotionTouch logs which activity is chosen
  6. The information is stored and when the user is ready, an email may be sent that includes the time, Level, and activity for each instance.
  7. Parents, teachers, or another caregiver can look at this information over a period of days or weeks to determine when and where a child has the most trouble. It can also help caregivers see which activities are most effective.


  • Why can't I send email?

    Make sure you have Apple's Mail app installed on your phone and you are signed into an account. Without setting up the Mail app, you won't be able to send reports from EmotionTouch

  • If EmotionTouch isn't working, who should I contact?
  • If I want to know more about The Incredible 5-Point Scale, who should I contact?