Thank you to Joan Murphy and Jill Bradshaw for this blog that demonstrates the criteria required for a Talking Mat to be a Talking Mat.
Talking Mats is now an established tool to help people express their views but the way in which is it used can vary and, at times, practitioners may adopt a ‘Talking Mats approach’ which is not truly a Talking Mat.
One of the activities of the Talking Mats Research Network was to establish the criteria which define a ‘true’ Talking Mat and we hope this blog will help clarify that.
The main components of a Talking Mat are
- A space to display the symbols – physical or digital
- A Top Scale
- A Topic for discussion
- Options which relate to the Topic.
In addition, the Research Network identified the following 3 main criteria to verify a Talking Mat:
- Are open questions used within the Talking Mat? For example, ‘How do you feel about x?’ rather than ‘Do you like x ?’ Sorting options into categories is not a true Talking Mat.
- Is the top-scale consistent with Talking Mats principles? The top scale needs to be such that thinkers are able to use the top-scale for reflection when asked an open question relating to a particular option.
3. Is the purpose of the Talking Mat to gain views on a particular topic or issue? The Talking Mat needs to be used in a way that provides an opportunity for the thinker to give their views about the topic. Of course, people with more complex communication challenges may not provide any additional information about their views, other than placing the symbol. However, if the placement of the option is used as a potential opportunity for a discussion, then this can be seen as a Talking Mat.
Further explanation can be found here
Training in Talking Mats covers the criteria and how to achieve it in more detail and is always advised to use this innovative tool to it’s full potential.
We have an exciting opportunity for a Development Associate to join Talking Mats Ltd.
Talking Mats Ltd is an award-winning social enterprise which originally developed from research at Stirling University and now has an international reach. We were delighted to receive a SMART award for research and innovation which allows us to embrace future technologies and Artificial Intelligence to enhance and develop our communication framework. We want to build a proof-of-concept system that can track user behaviour from both the Talking Mats app and video recordings and use data to automatically detect interactions that require the skill of a trained observer. This will be done using a combination of computer vision and machine learning algorithms.
We will also build the Data platform and Architecture on to our existing technology to allow TM Ltd to create new Data Services. These will provide key insights to support individuals and services by assessing organisational performance, identifying trends and risk factors. We want to be able to measure the quality of the input to maximise independent views. The successful candidate will understand the impact of communication impairment and have a track record of carrying out research. You will work collaboratively with the research team including, Dr Kevin Swingler, Head of Mathematical Science, University of Stirling and Dr Jill Bradshaw, University of Kent conducting qualitative and quantitative research. You will also be committed to the vision of Talking Mats to improve the lives of people with communication difficulties.
We are offering this position on a full time, fixed term basis until May 2023 but with the potential of joining our team in the longer term.
Closing date: 5pm Wednesday 11th May 2022
Interview date: Monday 16th May 2022
To view this vacancy and read a full job description, please click here.