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Speech presented at the launch of new Talking Mats Resources

Hello everyone, my name is Greig McMurchie and I would like to take the opportunity to welcome you all here today. If I look familiar it may be because you recognised me from the original talking mat video, where I had a cameo appearance with the lovely Joan murphy of course that was over ten years ago, and back then I was  much younger and better looking. Joan however is still as lovely as the day I met her.

As you can see, I have been involve in talking mats for many years now, ever since Joan asked me to help her trial a new communication system, that she and her colleague Lois had been developing. My initial thoughts were wow, this sounds really complicated and I was a little bit scared.  But I had known Joan since I was little and I really wanted to see what this new Communication system was all about.

When Joan came to visit me at that Dundas day center, all those years ago, all my fear quickly disappeared, it was really easy. I was able to have my say, and because it was visual I could change my mind also.  I began using talking mats to share my views, opinions and wishes, and before long this system was helping me to make life Changing decisions, such as what I wanted to do with my life once I had finished my college course. In fact you could argue that I am where I am today because of talking mats. And I like to say I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Anyway, that was away back then, and times have move on. About four weeks ago Joan and Lois came to Upper Sprinlands to visit me, and of course show me their wonderful bran new talking mats app. My initial thoughts were this sound fantastic, and when they arrived we had a wee chart and they explained what they had been doing.

I don’t know about everyone else, but when I was a kid a tablet was something you took if you were not feeling too well, an android was a character from a computer game and an apple was something you gave to your teacher to butter them up if you forgot to do your homework. But today all this modern technology is making it easy for everyone to engage creating doorways to all kinds of wonderful stuff. And boy can I say this new talking mats app is all kinds of wonderful.

So after we chatted I got to have a wee play with the new app, I couldn’t believe how easy it was, you were able to just move the pictures around and place them were you want them on the screen.  The New picture sets are fantastic, they are bright colourful and easy to understand.  I also like the way you can enlarge the picture to make it easier to see. And of course the fact that it come already to use. You can even take a photograph and send it to yourself by email. No more printing, cutting out and Velcroing, no more hunting for the camera only to realize the batteries are flat and you can’t use it anyway.  Everything is just nicely packaged. And the fact that it can be used not only on an Ipad but also on a computer makes it even more accessible.

Dare I say I personally felt the new App for me was even easier than the old system; it is quicker, fun and very cool?  Now I just need to persuade Upper springland to Purchase a copy or twelve.


Thank you talking Mats






(Speech at the Launch of the New Talking Mats Resources )

I want to go on holiday on my own!

At a recent training Jenn Hall who is a Personalisation Development Worker, told the story of her first use of Talking Mats. She used it with a woman that she has known for some time to discuss her views about her going on holiday. The lady is in her forties and has Downs Syndrome.  As she came to the people symbol she looked at it for ages and then placed it in the middle column explaining that she wanted to go on holiday on her own and visit her brother who lives in Spain without her parents. she had never been supported to do this and it was what she really wanted to do.  She also put the food in the middle column explaining that it was hard to understand the menus when she was abroad and that she wanted to learn a few basic words in Spanish. Jenn said that the Talking Mats really enabled the lady to express what she wanted not just go along with the status quo and for those around her to appreciate and understand her views . The Talking Mats has supported discussion with the family to enable this lady’s wish to come true . Hopefully she will have her first successful holiday with her brother visiting him all by herself.

Grandma Murphy’s thoughts

Last Monday I was visiting my mum-in-law who is 95 and has severe dementia. She wasn’t great when I arrived and the staff said she was very tired. It was hard to understand what she was saying and she seemed very frail. For something to do, I showed her some of the new Talking Mats images on my iPad and she perked up and smiled at several of them.

I then took a risk and suggested she might like to use them to tell me what she thinks about herself. I was amazed as she looked carefully at each image, thought about it, made a comment and indicated where she wanted to put it on the ‘mat’. For the first time in ages with me she seemed to be in the present and not in some confused place in her mind

Here are some of her comments:

Getting around – she said she was glad she has a wheel chair to help

Hearing – she said she thought her hearing had got better ( I later discovered she had just got a new hearing aid that morning!)

Feet – sometimes her feet are sore underneath (the staff are going to get the chiropodist to have a look)

Talking – she said it depends who she’s talking to!

Money – said she could always do with more!

The 3 things she was not happy about were – needing help from others, taking her medication and her teeth. (The staff confirmed that she hates taking her medication and have referred her to the dentist).

She loved the pictures and took loads of time thinking about each one and really studied the whole mat at the end.

Her granddaughter Susan said: ‘I thought it was amazing to get a sense of what Grandma is thinking.  This may be silly but I actually felt really moved by it!  It’s so hard to get any sense out of Grandma these days so it was really fascinating to get an insight into her thoughts.’

The following article has just been published:

Murphy, J., & Oliver, T.M. (2013) The use of Talking Mats to support people with dementia and their carers to make decisions together.  Health & Social Care in the Community Health and Social Care in the Community 21(2), 171–180

A resource which has been developed form our research is Talking Mats (bronze) Dementia and Social Care  Click here

For further information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Talking Mats Team have been funded by the Scottish Government to adapt the CARE Measure to make it accessible for children and to examine if the Paediatric CARE Measure (PCM) can be used to gain the views of children or parents attending AHP services. It is a patient-centred measure of relational empathy. It measures patients’ experiences of the interpersonal aspects of clinical encounters. It is recommended that the PCM is used by all Paediatric Allied Health Professions as standard practice. This should be supported by AHP Child Health Leads and will inform the self-assessment component of recommendation 5.6 in the AHP National Delivery Plan and will be integral in the development of the AHP Children’s Services Plan (Recommendation 4.1).

For information about the research project which was carried out to establish the feasibility, reliability and validity of the PCM please click on the following links:

Paediatric CARE Measure – Phase 2 Final Report

Paediatric CARE measure – Phase 2 Summary

For copies of the AHP guidance, PCM forms and information sheets please click below

Paediatric CARE Measure