Draycen DeCator
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About the developer

I'm a doctoral student in clinical child psychology. While working with kids who have medical conditions is my primary passion, I am also interested in trying to make psychology more accessible to everyone. There is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to psychology, and parenting as well. Between my blog, podcast, apps, and so forth, my hope is to help make evidence-based information easy to access and apply to your own life.

You can find a link to my personal website in the navigation drawer to the left (just click the icon in the top left of the page to access).

Apps

The Emotion and Coping Game is my first app. It is a game designed for adults (parents/teachers/etc.) who work with kids. It helps to make talking about emotions and coping skills fun and accessible. To find out more about the game, click the tab at the top of the page!

Statistical analysis syntax

One of the main ways I work with syntax is writing scoring/analysis syntax for statistical analyses (e.g., SPSS, R, SAS). Some examples of the syntax I've written are available on my personal website, and I will find a way to host some of it on github in the future.

About the game

The Emotion and Coping Game was designed and developed by Draycen DeCator, a doctoral student in clinic child psychology. The game is based on therapeutic work with young children struggling with emotion identification and learning of appropriate coping skills. Care has been taken to make the app easy to use for parents/teachers/therapists/others.

The game is developed for Android using Android Studio.

How it works

The app works by using random number generators and hard-coded coping skills (with strings in a separate file for localization purposes). Users can also add their own coping skills, saved in a string set. When users start the game, a random number is generated. Cases are specified for each possible outcome, and the appropriate number, emotion name, face image, and card color are all updated. The card transition is handled by translating to the left, setting the elements to be invisible, updating each element, tranlating to the right, setting elements to visible, then translating back to the center. (Or, for landscape, translating down, then up, then back down).

The settings for the app allow users to specify which coping skills they want to have enabled. During gameplay, the code checks the random number to determine if the resulting coping skill is enabled. If not, it loops until an enabled skill is identified. To prevent an infinite loop, coping cards are only enabled if at least one of the skills is enabled. If all coping skills are disabled (represented by a count of the number of switches/toggles that are disabled and the number of custom skills entered), the coping cards are disabled automatically.

The profiles work by programmatically creating different SharedPreference files for each user (the user's name is added to the end of the preference file name). If a user is deleted, the preference files should be reset and deleted. There is a master preference file that contains the list of users, which the code references to know which user's preferences should be read.

The color settings are likely not ideal. The UI settings related to Preference components do not allow for programmatically changing the colors. There are ways to manually force one color (e.g., creating a custom class that extends one of the Preference classes), but nothing seemed to work that I tried for allowing dynamic color changes. There's likely some way of getting it to work better using more customized layouts, but that's something I will explore later. For now, the colors are updated programmatically as able (e.g., buttons, actionbar), and the headings on the settings page are overwritten with TextView layouts. Setting a color for the status bar doesn't change the bar of colorPrimaryDark at the top of the window, so now the colorPrimaryDark is set to black and the status bat is set to a semi-transparent variant of the user's selected primary color. This only applies to the main page, as all other pages use a solid status bar (because they don't have the navigation drawer). Not ideal, and will try to find a better solution later (other apps have ways of doing it, but again may require doing more custom work).

Summary of features

-Inclusion of happy, mad, sad, and scared.

-Information about the different feelings, to help kids learn about them.

-Information about different coping skills, to help kids learn about those as well.

-Various settings to customize gameplay (e.g., enable/disable coping cards, skipping of coping cards, enable/disable each included coping skill, set your own coping skills).

-Gameplay suggestions, for those who want some guidance.

-Diverse graphics representing boys/girls and various races/ethnicities.

-Support for portrait and landscape, and devices of varying screen sizes (e.g., phones, tablets).

-Profiles to allow for easy switching between preferences (e.g., if you have two kids who use different coping skills; just switch between users in the navigation drawer and the proper set of coping skills are used)

-Custom color settings, which are profile-specific (i.e., each kid can specify their own colors and the app changes colors when the user profile is switched).

What's new

Version 3.5
-More artwork! Each included coping skill now has its own artwork that is displayed during gameplay. The gameplay suggestions page now also has artwork for each of the recommended steps.

-Learn coping skills! The app now has a section where kids can learn about all of the different included coping skills. It uses the new artwork, and language tailored to them.

How to get the game

The code for the game is open-source on my github profile, linked in the navigation drawer to the left (click the icon in the top left). To purchase the game and receive updates automatically, you can find it listed in the Google Play Store:

Play Store

Planned/possible upcoming features

Planned
-Localization for several languages (possibly Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic).


Possible
-"Gingerbread" feelings diagrams with drag-and-drop of physical signs onto a body (e.g., water droplets onto hands to represent sweaty palms; will ideally have different diagrams to choose from representing various degrees of ability, such as a child in a wheelchair).

-Night mode support

-Icon sets allowing children to choose faces that look similar to themselves. Those faces would then be used on the cards, in the "about feelings" section, and so on.

-Tracker for use of coping skills (to be usable outside of gameplay and to act similar to a sticker chart).