Thursday, September 26, 2013

The profusion of Q's

This blog has had plenty of information on Q-interactive, which is the iPad software that provides WAIS-IV and WISC. But there is more than one Q out there. Pearson also has an internet-based test administration platform called Q-global. The prices are similarly structured, including per-use or per-year subscription.

There are a few tests on this platform that may be of interest to us.

The most interesting one from my perspective is Alloway Working Memory Assessment - an automated on-screen working memory battery for ages 5-79 There is also an older PC-based version of this test. Has anybody out there used it and could provide their impression in the comments? I'd love to hear about its validity and reliability.

Other interesting tests on Q-global include Delis-Rating of Executive Function and Woodcock Reading Mastery Test for those poor souls among us that have to include an assessment of academic ability in their testing (been there, done that, got the scars to prove it).

I was wondering if anybody out there had experience with Q-global and can give us a review.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I may have mentioned this iPad app before, but it is only recently that I started using it consistently in my practice. The app contains a variety of psychological tests and questionnaires. It has two versions - a free one and one costing $59.99. The difference is in the number and type of tests available within the app.

The free version has Depression Anxiety Stress Scales - both the 21 and 42 item version. I tend to use these on a regular basis to screen for and quantify any emotional problems. The scale is free, which makes it much more attractive than BDI and STAI-S, and is a nice tool for a screener. However, it tends to be a bit of a pain to score. Takes a bit of time, which I'd rather use for more enjoyable things. That's where the app comes in.

The electronic version is filled by the client on an iPad, and you receive an e-mail sending you to a secure website where the client's results wait all nice and scored. It all ends up being quicker and easier than scoring it by hand.

The app includes a number of scales, generally focusing on the clinical side of psychology, and is elegant and easy to use. I'd recommend it, even if you are going to just use the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales.



The hottest page on the internet - if you are an Australian neuropsychologist

This is an amazing, up-to-date collection of Australian norms.

The news just arrived in the CCN newsletter, and I'm shamelessly re-posting it here, because it is truly worth re-posting:

AP and AJP virtual issue on Australian Neuropsychological Normative Data has now been published and is available here: 
This is a great resource for us all. Thank you to Prof Simon Crowe who edited this issue.

Not only is it fantastic, but it looks like it is also free to use.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

vibration-cancelling spoon for people with Parkinson's and tremors

A very worthwhile gadget. It uses accelerometer and a microprocessor to detect tremor, identify its type and adjust the end of the spoon so that the tremor is cancelled. There are several attachments planned, including fork and keyholder.

More information and a picture on:

the company website is here, with pictures, videos, etc.:

Now the bad news:
it is still in development, with the first spoons planned to ship  in December
it costs $295 US

Still, it would be pretty useful for somebody with severe tremor. I wonder if they will extend their technology to handwriting implements in the future.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Q-Interactive - what is included now and short review of DKEFS

I've just reviewed Q-interactive's offerings and here is a full list:

            Trail making test
            Verbal fluency test
            Verbal fluency test – alternate form
            Design fluency test
            Color-word interference test
            Animal Sorting
            Design Copying
            Memory for Designs
Fingertip Tapping
Word Generation
Memory for Designs, Delayed
Picture Puzzles
Children’s Memory Scale
            Dot Locations
Picture Locations
Dot Locations 2
           CVLT-II (Adults) – Standard and Alternate
           CVLT –C (children)
           CVLT II-Short

This is a nice little set of tests, and makes Q-interactive quite attractive. I  have to admit that I was looking forward to some verbal  CMS subtests, though. And NEPSY also seems to lack verbal memory tests, which is a pity. I hope these will be included in the next update.

The app itself is also getting updated in the next few days, just so that it can be made compatible with the new operating system available for the ipads. The nice things promised for the new version of the app are the ability to export results into Excel, which will display the results in a cleaner format. Also, the Central part will enable some cutting and pasting of results into reports (not that this is a good thing).

I am afraid that I have started to sound like a marketing arm of the Pearsons, so to balance it out, here is a promised review of the D-KEFS:

- generally, it is good, though you still have to use the forms for Trail Making and Visual Fluency, which adds to costs
-  Color-word interference (Stroop) was nice and screen-based
- I had serious difficulties with administering verbal fluency: with a quick client my stylus writing just wasn't up to the task (I find writing with a stylus a bit slower than with a pen - the iPad seems not to be able to cope with really fast, and possibly extra-scribbly writing. This has not been a problem, though, until I hit verbal fluency). I started writing the words on a piece of paper, and then could not put them in afterwards, so had to rely on manual scoring and norming. This made me wary of using electronic version of this test with high-functioning clients (or possibly with anybody).  There may be a non-intuitive way putting in the words after the fact but I have not noticed it at the time. If anybody has found it, or if it has appeared since I last looked at it, I'd appreciate a comment.
- the test returned results in the normal range when clinically a client seemed to have symptoms of executive dysfunction. I don't use D-KEFS on a regular basis, but have been told that its norms are rather 'permissive' in this way. However, I have not looked at it properly, so don't rely on my impression. Considering that the electronic and paper version are using the same normative data, this is more about liking or disliking D-KEFS rather than the electronic version of it.

I will try to have a look at NEPSY and CMS before the end of September and report my impressions.