Category Archives: App

Update on Digital Talking Mats

remote DTM

Digital Talking Mats was designed in 2012 and was primarily designed to be used as an app on iPad and some Android tablets.  The web browser version which uses Flash has never had the full functionality of the app version e.g. automatic reports, ability to add photographs, and unfortunately, Flash became obsolete in December 2020, a matter that was out-with our control.  We sought investment funding and brought forward our plans to develop Version 2 of Digital Talking Mats and have been working hard with a tech company, MTC Media, to develop a new version that is responsive and is in line with current technology.

A blog outlining the new Digital Talking Mats was posted in Dec 2020: https://www.talkingmats.com/new_digital_resource/ . You will see it includes many of the features you have been asking for.  We were hoping this would be ready for December 2020 but it has taken longer than we expected or wanted.  You can still access Digital Talking Mats as an app on iPad or Android and it works as normal.  However, Flash ending in December does leave us a gap in remote use and when using from a web browser.

Digital Talking Mats was not designed for remote use; we were not thinking pandemics in those days!  When lockdown happened, we worked hard to find a way to support remote use and found that using it as a web browser application and sharing screens through platforms such as Teams or Zoom was the most effective way to make that happen.  You can, however, still use it remotely if you have both an iPad/Android tablet and a laptop, by sharing your screen on the iPad with the Talking Mats application open and combining that with running a remote meeting on your laptop.  This way you can see the Thinker and the Digital Talking Mats.  We attach the detailed instructions and an example of Lois doing the Mat with our Office Manager, Heather Using Talking Mats virtually with two devices update Jan 21.  You may find other temporary solutions – if so, let us know.

We will be in touch as soon as we have news of Version 2 and you will be migrated across to the new version (type of access will vary according to what you originally purchased from us).  We anticipate this to be in March 2021.

We wanted the transition to be smoother than it is proving to be but hope you will understand that we are doing what we can.  We really value your support in these tricky times. The new version is looking great and if you want to be sent information about being an earlier adopter then please email info@talkingmats.com and we will keep you updated.

 

The Talking Mats Digital Resource – New for Old

New DTM 1

 

We developed our Talking Mats’ digital resource way back in 2012 when the online world was a simpler place. When first launched our technology was cutting edge – we were one of the few applications that worked on both Apple and android devices as well as web browsers.  Over the years it has been used in many different settings; schools, hospitals, health centres, social work support and day centres to name a few.  Unfortunately, digital development does not stay static and what was cutting edge then is now becoming outdated and so we need to revise and produce Version 2.  We are delighted and excited to let you know we are launching our new digital resource early in 2021.

2020 has seen an unprecedented focus on digital communication and our web-based digital resource has proved to be invaluable.  Our Talking Mats’ community applied the web-based digital resource in conjunction with Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Attend Anywhere to allow remote contact when it was needed the most.  However, technology progresses and recently many of you will have noticed a message from Adobe Flash Player plugin when you access the digital resource from the Google Chrome web browser.  This is because Flash Player will become obsolete at the end of 2020, making it very difficult to use our current resource from the web.  We began upgrading this year to ensure the stability of the digital resource and we have also taken this opportunity to improve its functionality and include new features. Flash Player will hopefully work on other browsers and it looks like  its best to swap to Opera as a web browser   but we are still seeking guidance on this and will let you know when advice is clearer. However you can also hare your iPad on teams and zoom and guidance on how to do this is can be found here Using Talking Mats virtually with two devices update Jan 21

Downloaded apps will still work on tablets and iPads but Talking Mats will only offer support for a limited time in 2021.

We have been working with Dundee based media company, MTC Media, over the past few months to design our new digital resource and whilst it is not quite ready, we wanted to share some of the new features.

‘Can I make the mat on the screen bigger and less cluttered?’

‘I’d like to be able to use a card from Health in my mat using the Secondary symbols, but I can’t’

‘Can I upload my own photographs?’

These questions and comments are some of the most common that our digital users ask.

  • Our new resource is user friendly and intuitive with bigger text, a larger area to create your mat and the ability to hide symbols until you are ready to use them.
  • You can create your own library of topics from across the different bundles.
  •  Photographs can be easily uploaded and added to your library

New DTM 2

This is just a small teaser to whet your whistle and to end 2020 with something to look forward to.

The way we sell this new resource will be changing to a subscription model but we will keep in touch with you about this and all existing digital users will automatically be moved over to our new digital resource.  We are sure you will like it and want to stay with it.

Improving Health and Housing outcomes for tenants

THH Blog picture 1

Talking Mats have been part of an exciting research project which looked at whether the Digital Talking Mat App could improve health and housing outcomes for social housing tenants.

Working together with tenants and staff from Loretto Housing and Care, Stirling University, Napier University and Age Scotland we have developed and piloted a new Talking Health and Housing set for the Talking Mats App!

Project Aims

The aim of the project was to:

  • Develop an App that would support social housing tenants with communication difficulties to say what they thought about their Housing and Health.
  • To improve communication between social housing tenants and health professionals.

Researchers were also keen to see whether the App would help to demonstrate the link between tenants’ housing and health solutions.

What we did

The Talking mats team facilitated two focus group sessions with all the partners to decide what topics were needed.

Once the mats had been completed the researchers from Stirling University and Napier University conducted interviews and focus groups with staff from Loretto and related Health professionals and then analysed the data from the mats.

The Talking Health and Housing set

The set has three topics: Home, Wellbeing, Support people

The Top scale for this set is Going well…Going well sometimes…Not going well

THH Blog picture 2 One of the major themes to emerge was safety inside and outside the house. Using the App, tenants were able to identify issues that were making them feel unsafe including:

  • A broken stair door
  • Uneven pavement outside the house,
  • Poor eyesight
  • Poor mobility

This was having a negative impact on tenants’ wellbeing and by doing the mats, actions were identified to address all these concerns and anxieties were reduced.

THH Blog picture 3THH Picture 4

It was a great partnership and we hope to work together again to further explore how the App can support the Service Integration agenda by facilitating communication between Health, Social and Care and Housing with the tenant at the centre.

Read the summary report 201908 Talking Health and Housing Summary Report

If you are interested in finding out more about the Talking Health and Housing App please email info@talkingmats.com

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The Symbols are designed and © to Adam Murphy 2015 and assigned to Talking Mats Ltd. in perpetuity. They may not be reproduced without permission

Talking Mats at the “aphasia days” in Germany

German flag

Talking Mats is now used in many countries all over the world.  As part of our #TMis21 blog series, we wanted to share this great example of Talking Mats being used in Germany.

In March 2019 Prof. Dr. Norina Lauer (OTH Regensburg) and Elena Maxheimer held a lecture and a workshop about Talking Mats at the “aphasia days” in Wuerzburg, Germany.  Many thanks to Norina and Elena for sharing information about the “aphasia days” for this blog post.

The “aphasia days” are a large congress – unique in Europe – for people with aphasia, family members and speech and language therapists (SLT). Every year around 600 people from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary are coming to this event. There are talks, workshops and podium discussions held by participants with aphasia, family members or SLTs. In front of approx. 150 listeners Norina and Elena gave a lecture about Talking Mats and the results of Elena’s bachelor thesis, in which she worked with people with aphasia, who learned to use Talking Mats.

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In a three-hour workshop at the “aphasia-days” Norina and Elena taught nine people with moderate to severe aphasia how to use Talking Mats. All persons brought their own tablets and logged into their own account. They where shown how to choose a topic and a top scale and practiced in teams of two. All of them conducted several sessions with different topics and switched partners a couple of times. They had a lot of fun talking about things that matter to them and learn more about their peers. At the end of the workshop they were able to use Talking Mats themselves and are going to use it with their relatives and friends at home. As the workshop was very well received by the participants, it is likely to be repeated at the next “aphasia days” 2020.

german app in action

If you would like to find out more information about Talking Mats in Germany, and the Digital Talking Mats app which is now available in German, check out https://www.talkingmats.com/talking-mats-in-germany/  and https://www.talkingmats.com/german-digital-talking-mats-with-people-with-aphasia/

 

Our Talking Mats is 21 Event is in Stirling on Thursday 15th August 2019.  Thanks to funding from NHS Forth Valley endowment committee the event is free but you do need to book your space https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/talking-mats-is-21-tickets-62362171935

21st save the date

You can come to the morning only, afternoon only or come for the whole day.

If you can’t come to our event watch out for out blogs and social media celebrating the reach of Talking Mats for 21 days before the 15th of August.  Please join in with your contributions using the hashtag #TMis21. For 21 days after our event we will be having a special Birthday offer! Watch this space, more to follow …….

 

Let pictures talk

german app in action

Grateful thanks to Prof. Dr. Norina Lauer, OTH Regensburg – University of Applied Sciences, Germany for this blog.

At the conference of the German Society for Aphasia Research and Treatment (GAB) from the 1st to the 3rd of November Franziska Rau presented a poster – Let pictures talk – about her bachelor thesis on Talking Mats.

2018 TalkingMats – Germany

Speech and language therapists from German-speaking countries meet at this conference to present their latest research findings. This year’s theme was ” Aphasia Therapy Digital”.
The presented bachelor thesis about Talking Mats was performed at the HAN University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands, and was written by Franziska Rau together with Karoline Bitter and Lara Stobrawe. The students asked 29 people with aphasia and 63 people without aphasia for how representative they rated the images and terms used in the Communication section of the Digital Talking Mats Health & Well-being resource. While the healthy persons judged many items as not clear enough, the people with aphasia estimated significantly more pictures and names as appropriate. For this purpose, various reasons have been discussed, such as the possibility that the persons with aphasia directly perceived the pictures and terms as aids, while healthy persons judged more critically on the basis of the task. But also problems of concentration or comprehension in people with aphasia would be causally conceivable. This should be examined in further studies.
The poster was presented as part of a poster session and was well received by the audience. Thanks to Franziska, Karoline and Lara for their great study and to Holger Grötzbach, Janine Coopmans and Xaver Koch who supported the students.

We are always happy to receive projects and posters from anyone studying how Talking Mats can be used