Monthly Archives: December 2015

New Year’s Resolution Talking Mat

Set your target

Get your New Year’s resolution Talking Mat here!
Talking Mats is a social enterprise whose  vision is to improve the lives of people with communication difficulties. 2015 has been another exciting year for us. We have had great opportunities to work with a fantastic range of people and hear great stories: from wee ones in nurseries using Talking Mats to encourage active participation and decision making, to older people and their families through our dementia family training project. It is our core belief that good communication is fundamental to a quality service. Making sure there is space for active listening to views and concerns particularly, if individuals have difficulties communicating is central to effective interactions and individualised, person centered care. We are really grateful to all the people who have supported the work of Talking Mats; people with communication support needs, staff who work with them and organisations that we are privileged to work with on a consultancy basis.
It will not surprise you to know that as an organisation we like to set goals and then go for them so as our thank you to you all for your continued support , we have created our very own New Year’s resolution Talking Mats;
• What are you definitely going to go for ?
• What is in the maybe pile – or that could be for those things you are already doing and will continue
• What is not a goal for you in 2016 .
• Don’t forget to use the blanks to personalize it further!
• Plus take a photo so you can reflect back on where 2016 takes you and whether you achieved your goals .
So open and download it , cut it up and we hope you enjoy using the resolution Talking Mat with friends and family ! resolution pics
We wish you all every health and happiness from all in the Talking Mats team

Talking Mats team chat about Christmas

Christmas

Fika (coffee time)  in the Talking Mats office is always interesting.  Recently we got chatting about Christmas preparations and who had the longest ‘to do’ list.  There was a definite variation in enthusiasm for all things Christmas.  We needed to do a Talking Mat! This was done on our digital Talking Mats – it’s  easy to import your own images now and make a digital Talking Mat about any topic.

Eating , drinking and games and puzzles got the thumbs up!   (Lois is the games queen and was the most enthusiastic about that).

Holiday, partying and entertaining got consensus.

Extended family coming to stay? This moved around a bit, but was generally positive (say no more!)

Shopping was in the mid section-we all agreed.  Perhaps by now it would be less positive with last minute mayhem.

Gifts was added as a blank (how could the interviewer forget that) and not everyone was comfortable about the commercialisation of Christmas.

‘How do you feel about Juggling demands?’   We all agreed -not sure.  Again remember, Talking Mats is how a person feels at a certain point in time.  Ask us again on Christmas Eve?!

Christmas cleaningAll agreed was a chore and some thought best not to get too bothered about it

Talking Mats supports a group conversation.  We all got our say

 

Merry Christmas one and all

Building the Digital Talking Mats

vid-thumb-2

We are delighted that Nick Stewart, Director, Software and Products with Arum Systems, the IT Consultancy who have built the Digital Talking Mats has chosen TM as his favourite project for a case study.

AAC  for all

Here is an extract from his case study describing the Challenge and Process of working with Talking Mats.

 The Challenge
The challenge was taking the existing physical Talking Mats tool and building a digital application suitable for multiple platforms, while maintaining the core ethos of the tool. A significant amount of academic research went into creating the physical product and those principles had to be present in a digital version. The applications had to be extremely intuitive to use and enable better conversations for people with communication difficulties.
The aim was to create 3 digital versions; a browser based version for laptop users and a tablet version for iPad users and Android users. Each application would connect to a cloud server, allowing users to log in from any device, and the tablet versions would allow offline working through syncing with the cloud when a connection was available. There was a requirement to set up a multi-tiered subscription based user account system to match the intended charging model for the digital app.
Our Process
Arum’s approach was to totally immerse ourselves in the Talking Mats business to understand their goals, ethos and objectives. We took time to learn how the Talking Mats ecosystem worked and how they wanted to engage with their customers. By applying our 3D Methodology we were able to break down the deliverables into phases allowing the key building blocks to be delivered first. This also allowed the best use of budget and reduced the time to market the new product.

To read the full case study click here Arum Talking Mats Case Study

Implementing Talking Mats; what works well

ehcp consultation

What works well when implementing Talking Mats?

Our last blog highlight how  the Wigan Pathfinder Project selected Talking Mats from a range of tools to consult with pupils who have Education, Health and Care  plans (EHCP) . They reported that Talking mats provided :

  • An objective, neutral space – a thinking tool- ‘Children and young people are able to consider their priorities when setting targets’.
  • Opportunities for change – ‘Children and young people are able to make changes to their initial thoughts and have time to decide and reconsider options’.
  • A truly person centred approach
  • It was fun!

Additional factors they commented on which worked well  when consulting with pupils about decision making and goal setting were:

  • Good liaison with parents and staff who know the child well before the session
  • Adapting the length of the session to the child’s needs
  • Ensuring a suitable room without too many distractions
  • Using the teaching scale
  • Putting the child’s name on the mat
  • Placing all topics in one envelope for easy access
  • Allowing time to sort symbols and discard irrelevant ones.
  • Reducing the number of symbols used depending on the child’s needs
  • Changing the top scale symbols to support the child’s understanding where necessary
  • Keeping a verbal record where appropriate
  • Working in pairs whilst learning the approach
  • Using the effectiveness coding framework (all case studies scored above 75%, therefore considered effective using this measure)

The Talking mats training focuses on teaching how to establish a consistent and appropriate top scale, maintaining a clear topic and using the effectiveness framework. It also presents a model for thinking about who can and cannot use the mat and for what types of questions and discussions