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Cathy Harris Chair of Communication Matters has written this short blog for us

It was great to have the Talking Mats team in the exhibition at the Communication Matters Conference this year. We had nearly 400 delegates gathering at Leeds University. The combination of a new venue with excellent accommodation and food combined with the wide ranging programme and exhibition has resulted in us being able to being able to deliver a high quality experience of which we are proud. We are very appreciative of the time which is given in preparation and attendance.

The exhibition, plenary and keynotes are always key to the success of the programme. Paul Maynard MP spoke on the importance to keep lobbying for better services and funding for all people who can benefit from using AAC.                                                  Visit for photos, updates and information about the conference.’

The picture shows Cathy presenting the first ever Alan Martin memorial award to Barry Smith

If you are interested in communication difficulties and want to make sure you are keep abreast of the latest developments in Alternative and Augmentative Communication ( AA C)  them make sure you book a place at the conference in Sept 2014 .

On Thursday 12th September Talking Mats we had a great evening as we launched:

  • First version of Digital Talking Mats
  • New Children and Young People’s resource
  • New Health and Well-being resource
  • New symbols
  • New website

Over 80 people attended the event which took place at the beautiful Stirling College Campus. The speakers gave funny and heart warming short talks about their involvement with Talking Mats.


We were honoured to have Greig McMurchie and Anne McGuire MP to do the official ribbon pulling launch.



Kirsty and Joan demonstrated how to use the app and after this guests mingled and explored the app and the new website.

One of the things I love about Talking Mats is that it can be used by all agencies. When thinking about the rationale behind GIRFEC the main focus is to encourage professionals to work together. It is so refreshing to have a resource that is recognised and used across the agencies.
It is not necessary to have written reports with names of assessments or measures that are a mystery to each other. Talking Mats uses visuals to capture feelings and views. The reporting of those views can be understood by children, parents and professionals.
In developing our new resource we listened and responded to a wide range of professionals. We have researched the Well-being indicators and have provided a tool to give an overview of the issues in the lives of children and young people.
Our vision is to provide a tool to listen to and capture children’s voices. We have a responsibility to be open and realistic about how we respond to what they tell us. Taking time to listen means we need to take time to respond.
We hope that Talking Mats will improve understanding throughout the whole GIRFEC team as we seek to get to the heart of what matters to the child.  Margo Mackay