Monday, 8 August 2016

ADHD: is there an app for that?

My name is Naomi Robertson and I am an undergraduate Psychology student taking part in
Naomi robertson
an 8 week research project as a Research Assistant alongside supervisor Lauren Powell and co- supervisor Dr Jack Parker. For this project I have conducted a content analysis for ten apps that claim to be suitable for children and young people diagnosed with the neurodisabiity, Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD). My placement is part of the Teaching Assistant Sheffield Undergraduate Research Scheme (TA SURE). The project is being conducted within the Telehealth and care technologies (TaCT) theme of the National Institute of Health’s Collaboration for Leadership and Applied Health Research and Care Yorkshire Humber (NIHR CLAHRC YH). The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have funded my placement.

This research topic appealed to me, as it is contemporary, investigating how the growth in technology can be harnessed and used as a tool for the management of ADHD, which affects 5% of the population. This area of research I also find very exciting as it is in its infancy meaning the findings may offer new insights, which have not yet been published by other researchers.

So far my role as a Research Assistant has involved the identification of ten apps for children and young people with ADHD, which were screened based on a strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. The final list of 10 apps have been presented to five clinicians who work with young people with ADHD. These clinicians were interviewed on their perspective on how useful the apps would be for young people as they seek to manage their ADHD.
This research placement has given me new insight into what carrying out research first hand looks like, when it previously seemed so distant simply citing studies throughout my degree. Having the opportunity to experience the practicalities of research as well as the enthusiasm of the researchers is unique and something I feel very lucky to have.

Throughout my time in TaCT I have also had countless opportunities to develop new skills from conducting and transcribing interviews, writing research documents, undertaking interview data analysis and learning more about ADHD as a disorder which has many parallels with my Psychology degree.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with TaCT and the chance to conduct independent research whilst having the support of such great supervisors. It has allowed me to have an idea about what conducting research involves without feeling overwhelmed in something I have never done before. I am excited about completing my placement and presenting my findings to an audience which I have gained more enthusiasm for than I could ever have anticipated.  

Written by Naomi Robertson


  1. Ha Naomi, you are keeping us in suspense. What are the ten apps you identified? Have you posted that list somewhere? Can you?

    We developed an app to help people with ADHD symptoms. It is called EchoX. Basically it is a reminder app. But what it does is reminds the user, at time intervals he/she defines. Whatever it is you are working on that week, a tap on your phone, or Apple Watch reminds you.

    Good job on your work Naomi. As an ADHD adult, I feel that these sorts of robot reminders might be a big help to children. Teachers don't always have the time to help the kid who needs to focus. These apps could help a lot.

  2. Hi Michael,

    I'm glad you appear to have enjoyed Naomi's post. If you would like further information, please may you send me an email at I am the administrator of this blog and was Naomi's supervisor for the project.