Category Archives: Legal

Talking Mats Specialist Seminars

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Following the success of previous seminars we are holding further specialist seminars in Stirling and London for anyone who has done the Talking Mats training. The topics will be:

  • Talking Mats and the Eating and Drinking resource (morning)
  • Talking Mats and Capacity (afternoon)

During the Eating and Drinking seminar, we provide background on how and why the resource was developed and showed some DVD examples of people using the resource. This really brings things to life and shows how important it is to give people (with and without speech) the opportunity to consider and talk about different aspects of eating and drinking. We also give people hands-on practice in using the symbols from each topic. Each participant will receive a copy of the full Eating and Drinking resource, including symbols, a mat, and explanatory booklet.
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During the Capacity seminar we will discuss the fundamental principles of the Capacity Act and participants will have a chance to consider how Talking Mats can help people to:

  • understand
  • retain/remember
  • weigh up information
  • communicate their views/wishes and feelings.

They will also be given the opportunity to work through some practical examples and think about options to help people understand issues and make decisions.

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If you have completed a Talking Mats training course and would like to attend either of specialist seminars, please click on the relevant course and fill in the registration form.

Stirling on Friday 29th April Stirling Seminars flier Apr 2016
London on Friday 10th June London Seminars flier June 2016
Registration form Seminar registration form 2016

 

Has Talking Mats been used in Court ?

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Has Talking Mats been used in court ?

This is a question that we have often been asked and up until now we have been until able to give examples. On a recent training in Belfast there were two registered intermediaries, their role is to assist vulnerable witnesses and defendants with communication difficulties in the criminal justice system. The registered intermediaries scheme was set up in England and Wales and more recently was established in Northern Ireland. On the course they talked about two cases where Talking Mats was used as part of the achieving best evidence (ABE) interviews.

1. The first case was the case of R versus James Michael Watts http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2010/1824.html . Here the clinical forensic psychologist used them to support an individual with severe disabilities to express her view of what had happened.

2. The second case that was discussed was the work of a registered intermediary, Catherine ‘O’Neil where she used them with a young man called Tim  in his early twenties who had been severely stabbed and suffered a severe head injury which resulted in locked in syndrome. He had some very limited movement of his hand.  Initially, Catherine worked with him to establish a yes/ no and then went on to assess Tim’s ability to use Talking Mats.   The focus of the first Talking Mat was to find  out about his interests and to enable Catherine and Tim to engage and interact with each other.  Catherine said ‘he  seemed totally relieved to be able to communicate his narrative. This allowed us to get to know him and his likes, dislikes and interests. Tim had never been a great friend of the police and in the like/dislikes/ don’t know mat, I included many pictures including Basketball, which went slowly but immediately to YES; Snakes under No and Police he joked and eye pointed to the door.!’  Catherine went on to use Talking Mats and these were used jointly with the police in 5 ABE interviews. This did enable evidence to be gathered in terms of the assault weapon, people etc. Through the support of a skilled registered intermediary Talking Mats contributed to enabling the victim to have a voice at the trial where otherwise none would be had. In this case a conviction was made.

We like to keep up to date about how Talking Mats is being used. You may well know of other cases where Talking Mats is being used to support people with communication disability to access justice. If so we would love to hear about them so please let us know.