“On a scale of one to ten, tell me how much it hurts”

Fine for most people, but ask an autistic child and there’s every chance you’ll get their ’favourite’ number, or the one they recognise, or no answer at all.


This has been a long established problem and of particular concern if a child with autistic spectrum disorder is in a strange environment such as a hospital. The communication of ’how much’ is a major issue.


The use of other tools such as the Wong-Baker pain scale using facial expressions simply doesn’t fill the need of the autistic child.



Whatz-it is a low technology indicator offering:


Progressive not discrete indication of intensity

Uses colours not numbers

8 key symbols provided, or print your own options

Magnetic tiles for easy ’pick and place’

Continuous scale avoids choosing the ’right answer’

Non-slip rubber feet

Mark resistant, washable contact surfaces

Can be cleaned with commercial disinfectants


Key Features:

Whatz-it has come from several years experience in special education in the UK and the problems with communicating difficult concepts such as pain, when the child is in a potentially stressful situation. Using a simple device like Whatz-it, supported with specific training for the child is a gateway to improved care and more accurate diagnosis and treatment.


Using a graduated colour scale from green to red allows selection of intensity rather than making a discrete choice and avoids the possibility and stress of selecting the ’right answer’.


Whatz-it comes with a set of eight magnetic tiles which can be easily picked up and placed on the slider. Customised symbols can be added by the user if required using downloadable templates.


The contact surfaces and tiles are cleanable with alcohol or chlorine wipes minimising cross infection. Whatz-it has been tested with a number of commercial hospital cleaning products.