What is a Talking Mat?
A Talking Mat is a visual communication framework which supports people with communication difficulties to express their feelings and views. Talking Mats can be carried out physically or in a digital space, for example a tablet, laptop or computer for which we have created one of the best apps for communication disability.
Above, you can see an example of a (digital) Talking Mat. It is made up of three sets of picture communication symbols – topic, options and a visual scale – and a space on which to display them.
Once the topic has been chosen, the participant is given the options one at a time and asked to think about each one, placing it on the Talking Mat to indicate how they feel about it.
Why do Talking Mats Work?
Our clinical, research and training experience provides evidence that Talking Mats helps people think about and express their views on a particular topic. There are a number of reasons why Talking Mats is effective.
Talking Mats support comprehension by:
– Helping people process concepts by breaking information down into small, manageable chunks
– Allowing the client time to process information and respond in their own time
– Reducing memory demands
Talking Mats improve quality of information by:
– Handing over control to the thinker
– Providing a structured framework for open questions
– Reducing anxiety
– Supporting people to express how they really feel.
Types of Talking Mat
This is our original, low-tech communication device.
- Specially designed symbols that are produced in no tear, wipe clean material.
- Packaged in clear plastic wallets with quick reference postcards and guidance booklet.
- Health & Wellbeing and Consulting Children and Young People Resources include mat and Fair Trade bag.
Digital Talking Mats
This new version of Digital Talking Mats has the following features:
- A video to introduce the platform and how to use it.
- Access to over 30 topics, depending on level of subscription.
- Ability to choose top scale.
- Ability to upload your own images to use in a mat.
- Once trained, you have the ability to create and keep a ‘Personalised Mat’ to use again.
- Once trained, you can gain access to our post-training and Advanced Resources.
- Symbols can appear with text or without text.
- Additional accessibility features.