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The inability to make a decision could be because of a learning disability, mental health problems, brain injury, dementia, alcohol or drug misuse, side effects of medical treatment or any other illness or disability. Click here for further information.

Both the Mental Capacity Act (2005) in England and Wales and the Adults with Incapacity Scotland Act (2000) identify the following components which determine whether or not someone has capacity to make their own decisions.

capacity diagram
There are a number of additional assumptions that are central to determining whether or not someone has the capacity to make their own decisions:
• Every adult has the right to make decisions unless proved otherwise
• Everyone should be supported to make their own decisions
• People should be given the support they need
• People are entitled to make their decision – good or bad
• Each individual has a different capacity to make decisions about different aspects of their life.

We have been running seminars on how Talking Mats can be used to support a person’s capacity to make decisions.The diagram below illustrates some of the comments we received form participants at a recent seminar about the benefits of using Talking Mats to support decision making.
Click on the diagram to enlarge.

Why does TM support decision making

The process of completing a Talking Mat helps people retain their view and if they have memory problems the picture of the mat is a good prompt to enable recall.

Its worth noting that our brain processes visual images 60,000 faster than text!

Getting feedback on AAC services  is particularly challenging because of the communication support needs of this group of people. It is therefore really important for AAC users to have the chance to say how they feel about the services they receive. Services need to make sure that this group of people have a voice and that there is a mechanism for their views to be taken into account in monitoring the quality of services and service planning.


NES has funded the opportunity for professionals to attend a seminar and go away with a resource to support them to get feedback from AAC users about their service.  The Talking Mats resource was trialled and developed with Forth Valley AAC partnership and is based on AAC quality indicators (NES 2013).

This opportunity is free of charge to people in AAC partnerships in Scotland. You will attend a half day specialist seminar and go away with a free resource to use in practice.

The resource will help people find out how AAC users feel about:

  • People who work with them
  • How AAC services are delivered

It provides a model of good practice which could be extended to evaluate other services.

4 dates and locations are available.

Edinburgh-           Tuesday 17th March  1.45 -4-.30pm

Dundee –           Wednesday 18th March  1.45 -4.30pm

Glasgow            Thursday 19th March – 1.45 -4.30pm

Inverness          Friday 20th March       1.45 -4.30 pm

If you are trained in Talking Mats and wish to take up this  great opportunity, please book your place as soon as possible.    or

We really enjoy training people to use Talking Mats and are always inspired by the range of participants who are working hard to support people with communication disabilities. Here is some of the feedback we have received recently from the Talking Mats training courses that we have run.

word cloudIf you would like to find out more about our training courses please click here