Improving communication, improving lives
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The Children and Families Act 2014 makes clear that local authorities in England must have regard to the views, wishes and feelings of the young person and the parents. How do you ensure children and Young People are fully involved in decisions about their support and what they want to achieve? This blog describes how Talking Mats can be used to support the Education and Health Care Plans (EHCP).

A question like ‘What do you want to be able to do in the next 12 months,  that you can’t do now ?’ is difficult for us all. For children and young people who struggle with communication, this is even more of a challenge.Talking Mats is an ideal tool to support the young person to consider this big question because it breaks down the dialogue into bite-size chunks, makes abstract concepts more concrete, and creates a visual record of the discussion.

The top scale can change depending on the topic and what the interviewer wants to find out.  It can vary from

  • things I like/ don’t like/ unsure
  • things that are important to me / not important/ not sure,
  • things I want to try/ don’t want to try/ not sure .

We have two resources that can be used to support conversations about planning :

  1. Health and Well being – this resource is based on the WHO ICF framework and allows you to have a topic focused conversation on the various aspects that make up well being
  2. Consulting Children and Young People this resource gives a much more holistic overview of how the young person or child is feeling about their lives
  3. Example from Health and Well being resource

Using the work/education topic from the Looking after yourself  set in the Health and Well –being resource, this pupil is able to express what his aspirations are  post school. Click on picture to enlarge.


  1. Example from Consulting Children and Young People resource

This example came from a primary teacher and demonstrates how the process of using Talking Mats can help a young person reflect on their lives and in this case make positive change . The teacher told us about a pupil aged 8 who placed the symbol for ‘being listened to’ in the position for something he liked, and the symbol for ‘listening to others’ in the position for something he didn’t like.  ‘That’s not right’, he exclaimed.

There was no miracle cure she said.  ‘But it was like a light bulb going on!’  He began to engage with work on his interaction and listening skills and ended up a playground champion.

Free Seminar 

We are holding a free half day seminar in London on the 20th October. The seminar is an introduction to how you can use Talking Mats to support pupil participation in planning . If you wish to attend please let us know by responding to our invite. We would love to see you. London Seminar Invite


We are delighted to be a Winner in the People Driven Digital Health Awards which were held in Leeds on Friday 3rd July. These awards were instigated to recognise the work of digital health innovators from across the UK and aim to connect the people who have ideas and make them happen.

The event was organised by mHabitat  and compered by a well known health commentator, Roy Lilley, of the Academy of Fabulous Stuff. The evening was full of fun and energy and we met lots of interesting people and made good connections. There is loads going on in digital health and services should make use of all these fabulous innovations that will improve people’s lives and health services. To get a flavour of the evening follow #PDDAwards15 and to find out about the other winners click here.

Our category, ‘the most impressive third sector digitally enabled service’ recognises third sector services which have embedded digital tools and services into improving people’s experience and outcomes. We very honoured to win this category with our digital Talking Mat. The announcement of the winners was followed by a flurry on Twitter which you can dip into here .