Molehill Mountain is an app designed to help autistic people understand and self-manage their anxiety.
More than half of autistic people have experience of anxiety, and 42% of autistic children are affected by anxiety disorders, as compared to just 3% of non-autistic children. Molehill Mountain has been designed by researchers and clinicians to give autistic people evidence-based tools to take control of their anxiety.
How does it help?
The app is designed to help autistic people recognise, understand and manage their anxiety, so that it has less of an impact on their everyday lives. Through short daily logins, you’ll cover a full Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) course that has been designed specifically for autistic people. As you go through the course you can unlock tools, unpack the thinking behind your anxieties and work through exercises and activities to strengthen your learning.
Daily logins also allow you to identify your worries, understand how serious the worry is for you and recognise what is triggering it. With this “worry diary” you can track your progress as you work through all of the evidence-based tools, activities and exercises. This helps you to become more confident about managing your anxiety.
We know that many autistic people struggle to speak about their emotions. Using the app to track worries can give you the chance to share your worries with someone that you trust. This can help some people to further explore and understand the negative emotions that they’re feeling. It can also be a great way for parents to talk to their autistic children about their worries.
Some Molehill Mountain features
The Worry Mountain tool gives you a chance to lock away your worries for a time, picking when you want to take them out and think about them. This can help to stop you ruminating or over-thinking about a worry, which is very common behaviour for autistic people.
The ABC Model is a central part of CBT. It focuses on helping you to understand how your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and behaviours are all connected. It can help you to identify your anxiety triggers, and understand how you might be able to adapt your responses to reduce your anxiety.
Detective Thinking will help you to look at how your thinking style might be increasing your anxiety or low mood. Once you understand that, you’ll have the tools to change your thinking styles.
The Fear Ladder helps you to address your fears in a comfortable way. It helps you to gradually face your fears over time until you feel less anxious about them.
Mindfulness Exercises will help you to understand your physical reactions to anxiety and help you to use your breathing to calm yourself down.
The science behind the app
The app is developed from evidence-based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) approaches. They have been adapted specifically for autistic people by Professor Emily Simonoff. Professor Simonoff is a world-leading expert from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London.
The app is based on an adapted CBT toolkit that she developed to support autistic people, parents and carers to understand their anxiety and use strategies to overcome their difficulties. The anxiety toolkit was tested with different autistic people to develop information that can be personalised to each person’s needs. Molehill Mountain was developed in collaboration with autistic people at every stage.