Teach Ted

Past project

Teach Ted is now ready to pilot its play-based learning innovation with a corporate partner, thanks to the clinical evidence provided by UNSW researchers and Sydney Children’s Hospital Child Life Therapists.


Teach Ted delivers a range of products that help children feel confident when facing new clinical experiences. Teach Ted empowers parents and care providers to manage anxiety and better support children. For a child, a visit to the hospital can be stressful. Blood tests and other medical procedures can cause anxiety, distress, or behavioural issues in young patients and induce parental distress and anxiety.

Not only do care providers want to create a better patient experience for children and parents, reducing procedure-related anxiety improves economic and efficiency outcomes for clinics. Calmer children require fewer resources and time to treat and are less likely to require additional interventions.

Teach Ted developed a new prototype to address blood test distress using play-based learning principles. Anecdotal evidence had already shown that it helped children feel more confident about their tests, particularly those with ASD and existing needle-phobias. However, to get to the next commercialisation stage and scale the product, Teach Ted needed independent evidence that the product worked.

"I knew that we'd need more than just "That looks like a lovely story or isn't that cute." I knew pretty early on we needed scientific evidence that what we were doing did improve things, both for families and the service providers, if this is to succeed commercially."


The TechVoucher project involved a partnership between UNSW Researchers, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and Teach Ted to trial their new digital application. The researchers designed a clinical trial methodology to test the efficacy of the application. Child Life Therapists from Sydney Children’s Hospital also provided feedback on the prototype. Two days after the project kicked off, COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions came into effect. With some COVID-related adjustments to the methodology, the project was completed despite the lock-down.

teach ted blood test


"I was impressed with how much the UNSW team actually did for us once we started. Particularly, in terms of helping us to navigate the complexities around ethics approvals and stakeholder management. They also supported us with the promotion of it, which was completely unexpected. The resilience and persistence they showed through all the COVID-related challenges was also critical to the success of the trial."


The UNSW clinical trial report has given Teach Ted the evidence and credibility they need to secure the right corporate partner to pilot their innovation. The collaboration and the UNSW relationship has also led to a further clinical trial with Canberra Hospital.

"Having the UNSW research report is a really big thing for us. To be able to go, here's some independent evidence to show that it works in a clinical setting and that families and practitioners actually want to use it. That alone gets people to go, "This could be a really valuable tool for us; it isn't just two mums who have made a fun video."

Sarah Cummings, Co-founder and CEO Teach Ted