Talking Mats


Talking Mats enables you to have better conversations with people with communication difficulties.
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Talking Mats provides a visual framework to help people express 

their views using a selection of communication symbols that cover a variety of topics.

 

Talking Mats is used by clinical practitioners, social workers, education staff, advocates, carers and support workers in a wide range of health, social care, residential and education settings. Talking Mats products are available as both an original low-tech and digital resource.

You can try Talking Mats out by downloading the Digital Taster or Digital Lite versions. Note that the download page has the Mac App Store logo to click on; this is an error. The link takes you to the iPad Store.

The innovative, award-winning Talking Mats communication symbols tool is based on extensive research and designed by Speech and Language Therapists. It uses unique, specially designed picture communication symbols that are attractive to all ages and communication abilities and is used by clinical practitioners, carers and support workers in a wide range of health, social work, residential and education settings. 

Whether used for consulting children and young people, used as a stroke communication resource, or used to overcome communication difficulties for people with learning disability or dementia, these communication symbols have proved highly effective. 

How Talking Mats works

Talking Mats is an interactive resource that uses three sets of picture communication symbols – topics, options and a visual scale – and a space on which to display them. This can either be a physical, textured mat, or a digital space, for example a tablet, smart board or computer screen for which we have created one of the best apps for communication disability.Topics: whatever you want to talk about, e.g., pictures symbolising ‘what do you want to do during the day’, ‘where you want to live’, ‘who do you want to spend time with’, etc.

Options: relating specifically to each topic. For example: ‘What do you feel about going for a walk? Or living at home?’

Top Scale: this allows participants to indicate their general feelings about each topic and option. The meaning of the visual top scale can be adapted to suit the questions you are asking the person, for example, whether they are happy, unsure, or unhappy.

Once the topic is chosen e.g., ‘activities’ or ‘people’, the participant is given the options one at a time and asked to think about what they feel about each one. They can then place the symbol under the appropriate visual scale symbol to indicate what they feel.

Talking Mats is used by clinical practitioners, carers and support workers in a wide range of health, social work, residential and education settings. Here are just a few ways that Talking Mats can be used:
  •  Help children and adults to express their preferences or feelings
  •  Provide a ‘thinking tool’ to enable people to explore issues and help them to structure and verbalise their thoughts.
  •  Help people with a learning disability to both understand what is involved in a decision and to then give their opinion.
  •  People who have had a stroke may have problems both understanding others and expressing themselves.
  •  The visual presentation of Talking Mats helps comprehension as well as providing an effective way for people to express their views.
  •  The structured and consistent format of Talking Mats makes it easier both for people with dementia to keep to topic and for the listener to follow the track of the conversation
  •  Support people with communication difficulties to express negative as well as positive views and reduce the tendency for people to acquiesce, i.e., agree with everything.
  •  The act of physically moving the picture symbols helps people organise their thoughts in a logical way.
Available in original format or digital.

With the Original Resource you get:
  •   Textured Mat
  •   3 packs of specially designed communication symbols 
  •   Film clips of people using Talking Mats
  •   Talking Mats Book- (A Resource to Enhance Communication)
  •   All in a portable Fair Trade bag

With the Digital Resource you have:
  •   Access to the specifically designed sets of symbols that you have bought
  •   An ability to add in your own images and personalise the conversation 
  •   A personal secure log on
  •   Instant reports with a facility to capture the context and nuance of the Mat
  •   A filing system that enables you to organise and review your thinkers’ views 
  •   No limits to the amount number of Mats that can be created and stored




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Looking After Yourself
The Looking After Yourself resource helps people with a communication difficulty to understand, think about and then express their views in a visual way using specially designed communication symbols on 3 Topics relating to Looking After Yourself:
  1. Self Care – Looking after your body
  2. Domestic Life – Carrying out everyday actions and tasks where you live
  3. Work and Education – Carrying out actions and tasks relating to education, paid and unpaid work
This makes the World Health Organisation ICF framework meaningful and accessible.

Available in original format or digital.

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Communication
The Communication resource helps people with a communication difficulty to understand, think about and then express their views in a visual way using specially designed communication symbols on 4 topics relating to Communication:
  • Understanding – Receiving verbal, non-verbal and contextual communication
  • Expression – Producing verbal, non-verbal and contextual communication
  • Learning and Thinking – Learning and applying knowledge
  • Relationships – Interacting with people
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Health
The Health resource helps people with a communication difficulty to understand, think about and then express their views in a visual way using specially designed communication symbols on 3 topics relating to Health:
  • Health – Senses and body functions
  • Mobility – Moving, transferring and using transport
  • Coping – Carrying out general tasks and demands
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Leisure and Environment
The Leisure and Environment resource helps people with a communication difficulty to understand, think about and then express their views in a visual way using specially designed communication symbols on 3 topics relating to Leisure and Environment:
  • Leisure (Home) – Leisure activities at home
  • Leisure (Away) – Leisure activities away from home
  • Environment  – Surroundings and support where you live
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Early Years
The Early Years resource helps young people to understand, think about and then express their views in a visual way using specially designed communication symbols on 3 topics relating to their Early Years:
  • My Body and skills – how the child is growing and developing
  • What I do and my support – the child’s experience of activities and the support they receive
  • My Wider World – the child’s experience of the communities where they grow up
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Primary
The Primary resource helps children to understand, think about and then express their views in a visual way using specially designed communication symbols on 3 topics relating to their Primary years:
  • My Body and skills – how the child is growing and developing
  • What I do and my support – the child’s experience of activities and the support they receive
  • My Wider World – the child’s experience of the communities where they grow up
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Secondary
The Secondary resource helps young people to understand, think about and then express their views in a visual way using specially designed communication symbols on 3 topics relating to their Secondary years:
  • My Body and skills – how the young person is growing and developing
  • What I do and my support – the young person’s experience of activities and the support they receive
  • My Wider World – the young person’s experience of the communities where they grow up
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Social Care
The Social Care resource helps people with a communication difficulty to understand, think about and then express their views in a visual way using specially designed communication symbols on 3 topics relating to Social Care:
  • Activities – Leisure activities where you live
  • Where You Live –The environment and people where you live
  • You  – Personal well-being
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Eating and Drinking
The Eating and Drinking resource helps people think about their eating and drinking and the impact of this on their health. It can then be used to help them make informed decisions about modifications to their diet and alternative eating and drinking methods. They can do this in a visual way using specially designed communication symbols on 3 topics:
  • Meals – Types of food, where you eat and the process of eating
  • Impact on Health – Someone’s views about how their eating and drinking affects their health
  • Things that might help – How the person feels about the strategies that may be suggested to help manage their eating and drinking
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Complete Bundle
This Complete bundle contains all the Talking Mats resources for both children and adults. It gives you access to all the symbol sets we have developed to explore a wide range of topics.
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Health and Well-being Bundle
The Talking Mats Health and Well-being resource helps people with a communication difficulty to understand, think about and then express their views in a visual way using specially designed communication symbols. It takes a holistic view of the person by exploring a wide range of 13 topics on everyday life. It is based on the World Health Organisation ICF framework and makes it meaningful and accessible.
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Children and Young People Bundle
The Children and Young People’s resource helps children and young people to become more involved in the decisions that affect their lives. Listening and responding to their views helps interventions to become more targeted and effective. It gives a holistic picture of how a child or young person feels about their lives at home, at school and in the community. At each stage the following 3 areas are covered.
  •  My Body and skills – how the child is growing and developing
  •  What I do and my support – the child’s experience of activities and the support they receive
  •  My Wider World – the child’s experience of the communities where they grow up

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