A team of child psychologists have developed an iPad app that will enable professionals working with children to survey, explore and quantify almost any physical or mental experience or symptom.
Dr David Glasgow and his colleagues from the Child & Family Training Organisation have been developing new approaches to the assessment of children for many years but feel their latest development, entitled This Much!, will prove "invaluable" for paediatricians, child therapists, school counsellors, clinical psychologists and psychotherapists.
"This Much! is an app that provides an interactive Visual Analogue Scale (VAS)," explained Dr Glasgow. "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 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."
This Much! generates quantitative data and qualitative information, using a combination of graphics, text, symbols and images. It also allows any VAS scale to be quickly and easily adapted to explore and quantify almost any symptom or type of experience while minimising the stress of communicating complicated feelings for children.
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 data.
“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.”
Feedback from beta testing has suggested that younger children especially have demonstrated more confidence in expressing what they meant when using the app. Other children who have proven to be anxious about committing things to paper, seemed happier using This Much!
Go to www.childandfamilytraining.org.uk/thismuch/index.html to find out more about the app including details of how to buy