iPad app assists in medical and social care assessment of children
30 April 2013
An iPad app developed by Child & Family Training enables health
and social care professionals working with children to survey,
explore and quantify almost any experience or symptom.
The This Much! app is aimed at paediatric nurses, paediatricians,
child therapists, school counsellors, child and clinical
psychologists and psychotherapists.
The app generates both quantitative data and qualitative
information, using a combination of graphics, text, symbols and
images (including photographs). Any visual analogue scale (VAS)
scale can be quickly and easily adapted to explore and quantify
almost any symptom or type of experience.
The goal is to help children express things that are difficult
for them; either because they were complicated, distressing, or they
were just scared of communicating in a traditional interview. Many
children have difficulty communicating if they are in pain, anxious,
fearful or depressed, so the team sought to find ways that this
could be made easier for them.
David Glasgow, a consultant psychologist and member of the
development team, said: "This Much! is an app that provides an
interactive Visual Analogue Scale. It is a new twist on a very well
established assessment procedure which is traditionally administered
in paper and pencil format. This can be confusing or a rather
intimidating for many children. Using a tablet makes the whole
procedure much more engaging for the child and informative for the
professional. The child can choose how to represent the experience
or symptom and indicate a rating and then that response that can be
quantified and explored in more detail."
“The app is actually good fun to use, so be would especially
useful in children’s medicine, as children engage with it and become
much more communicative. It helps to solve what has always been a
big problem in the clinical setting, and makes evidence based
practice more enjoyable and effective from both the perspective of
children and professionals."
Another member of the team, Professor Arnon Bentovim said, “This
Much! allows children and adults with intellectual disabilities to
generate and manipulate graphics within the app customised to his or
her particular needs. It takes only a few taps to create a new
scale, or adapt an existing one, and they can include figures
representing people, any digital image or any text label. It could
also facilitate future research on what makes a good scale to use
with children, in almost any situation requiring valid and reliable
“This Much! provides an effective tool when assessing children
who struggle with verbal expression. It helps you to generate
comparative ratings to illustrate psychological responses under
various conditions or when a visual measure of progress might be
useful for the child and family.”