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New app for children unable to speak

Posted on Tuesday 13th September 2016
Young girl learning to use the new app

Play specialist Jane Sivyer showing the app to a young patient.

An innovative new app has been designed by Evelina London play specialist Jane Sivyer. The Paediatric Communication App enables children who have difficulty speaking to communicate with hospital staff and their families about their treatment.

Launched at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, the app has pictures which children can use to say what they want or how they feel. They can let staff know where they are feeling pain and how much by using a ‘feelings’ option. Touching the screen on a diagram of the human body to show where they feel pain highlights the area and brings up a scale of 1-10 to rate how much it hurts. Children can also use the app to ask for things such as food, to be read to or to watch a film.

Jane Sivyer came up with the idea for a communication app based on her experience of working with children in Evelina London.

She says: “Children on ventilators and those who can’t talk struggle to tell us if something is wrong or if they need something. I wanted to create something that could give those children their voice back and an app seemed like a good solution.”

At a launch party in the hospital, children, parents and staff were shown how to use the app. Natasha Kelly, whose child is being treated in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), tried the app and loved it. She said: “It’s so easy to use and the pictures are great, especially for children.”

Emilia’s Little Heart, a charity that works to help children cope better with their stay in hospital, funded the project. With their support, Jane worked with developers to bring the app to life.

The Paediatric Communication App is now available on iTunes.