Recently we delivered two Talking Mats specialist seminars in London:
Talking Mats and the Eating and Drinking resource
Talking Mats and Capacity
Both seminars were very well attended with lots of discussion from a wide range of professionals.
During the Eating and Drinking seminar, we provided background on how and why the resource was developed and showed some DVD examples of people using the resource. This really brought things to life and showed how important it is to give people (with and without speech) the opportunity to consider and talk about different aspects of eating and drinking. We also gave people hands-on practice in using the symbols from each topic. Each participant received a copy of the full resource, including symbols, a mat, and explanatory booklet.
During the Capacity seminar we discussed the fundamental principles the Capacity Act and participants had a chance to consider how Talking Mats can help people to:
weigh up information
communicate their views/wishes and feelings.
They were also given the opportunity to work through some practical examples and think about options to help people understand issues and make decisions.
We are grateful to Nicola King SLT, who describes how she and colleagues use Talking Mats not only to gain feedback from parents about the therapy process, but also about the parent’s understanding of the child’s diagnosis and its impact.
The options to start the discussion are included in the mind map below. Click on image to enlarge.
Issues raised by one parent were
1) Information given to me –unsure . The mum went on to say ‘I’m worried/ frightened. I don’t want to ask too much as I’m frightened as to t he answers
2) My child’s progress –unsure. The mum offered ‘I’m inpatient’
Nicola commented –‘These were huge issues and each response gave me a chance to explore what she was thinking and meaning. For the first time this mum offered her fears about ASD and ADHD. She enjoyed the Talking Mats process and after the interaction agreed for the first time to an onward referral which ensured support was in place for her son starting school.
The Talking Mats format was a brilliant way to have that ‘difficult conversation’ ‘
The intention at the core of the Scottish Strategy Getting it Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) is to keep the child at the heart of the planning process. Helping the child to set personal outcomes based on what is important to them, should be the starting point. In practice, this can be difficult as many of the well-being indicators are difficult for children and parents to grasp. A primary headteacher highlighted the limitations, explaining that she was trying to find out about how safe one of her pupils felt. When the pupil asked her to explain what she meant, she replied “Well, do you feel safe in my office or do you think one of the books might fall off the shelf onto your head?”
The Consulting Children and young people resource allows you to reorganise the symbol sets to reflect on each of the specific well being Indicators. If we take the example of safety, we can make the concept more accessible to the child by providing concrete examples. This may include: asking for help if needed, feeling listened to, as well as, safety in specific settings for example at home; in school; with friends or using social media. The CCYP resource helps the interviewer to think about the child’s age and stage of development and uses examples that are meaningful.
The visual framework means that their is a clear record of the shared understanding between the child and the interviewer of the concept of safety.
We are planning to run specialist sessions on using Talking Mats with the SHANARRI indicators in order to ensure that the child’s view is at the heart of the planning process. If you are interested please let us know what would work best for you.
Email us at info@talking mats and tell us if you would prefer a Saturday session, a Twilight session or a half day session and state your preference for morning or afternoon.