Improving communication, improving lives
Search Talking Mats

Theme 1 from Talking Mats Seminar: How do we vary the top scale?

One of the key skills in using Talking Mats is getting the top scale to reflect the question that you are asking and to be consistent.


The following range of 3 point top scales have been suggested:

like – unsure – dislike

managing – need some help – not managing

very important – quite important – not important

really good at – getting better at – not good at

want – sometimes want – don’t want

calm – unsure – anxious

can do it myself – need a little help – need a lot of help

very easy – quite easy – hard

It was suggested that a way of dealing with a negative topic such as ‘anxiety’ or ‘pain’ was to use a quantitative top scale such as:

a little – some – a lot

Or you could ask what strategies make your pain

better – stays the same – worse

In some situations where the person has an acquired disability, it may be best to do 2 mats, one about liking and another about managing. It was suggested that adapting the mid point to reflect potential loss of skills might be useful:

like – like but can’t do it now – don’t like it

More recently we have found that the following wording works very well for lots of people and situations:

going well – sometimes – not going well


We are about to launch a digital version of Talking Mats which uses our brand new images, specially designed by a leading comic artist. We are currently in the testing phase to check how it is received by different client groups and professionals and to iron out any glitches.

We are planning to launch a free taster version first.

Following this there will be a Lite version with 2 full symbols sets ( £5.99) and then a subscription model with many more symbols sets and lots of additional functionality. It will also be available for Android.

The final version will be launched on 12th September.

If you would like to be kept informed of this exciting development please send an email to

I want to go on holiday on my own!

At a recent training Jenn Hall who is a Personalisation Development Worker, told the story of her first use of Talking Mats. She used it with a woman that she has known for some time to discuss her views about her going on holiday. The lady is in her forties and has Downs Syndrome.  As she came to the people symbol she looked at it for ages and then placed it in the middle column explaining that she wanted to go on holiday on her own and visit her brother who lives in Spain without her parents. she had never been supported to do this and it was what she really wanted to do.  She also put the food in the middle column explaining that it was hard to understand the menus when she was abroad and that she wanted to learn a few basic words in Spanish. Jenn said that the Talking Mats really enabled the lady to express what she wanted not just go along with the status quo and for those around her to appreciate and understand her views . The Talking Mats has supported discussion with the family to enable this lady’s wish to come true . Hopefully she will have her first successful holiday with her brother visiting him all by herself.