Sophie Mitchell SLT describes how she supported her students to develop their EHC Plans with the Talking Mats app .
In September 2014 our team and I were asked to facilitate the production of Education and Health Care plans for the Year 14 students at the Secondary Special School (for adolescents with complex, profound and multiple learning difficulties) where we are based. As Speech and Language therapists we were asked to work with the students to gain their view on what they would like to be detailed in their plan and also what their aspirations were for their future. We wanted to ensure the production of these plans were as client centred as possible so therefore decided to use the Talking Mats App on the Ipad using the Health and Wellbeing resource. This resource proved invaluable when working with our students. Not only were our students highly motivated to participate in the sessions due to the Ipad being used, talking mats empowered them to make meaningful decisions about their future, communicate any areas where they would like further support and discuss likes and dislikes. The impact on our students became clear when working with one 19 year old student. Although he did not have any spontaneous expressive language and would only echo things said by others, during a Talking Mats sessions when talking about his likes and dislikes, he appeared to be placing most items under ‘dislike’. As the session went on the student started to appear agitated, then started pointing towards ‘like’ although no symbol was presented. Suddenly the student said ‘Garden’, still pointing towards the ‘like’. When presented with a gardening symbol he soon placed this under ‘like’. This information was then presented in his plan and his college were instructed to explore opportunities for this student to develop his gardening skills. For all students this information was then used to not only create their Education and Health Care plan but also expand and explore areas they were highly motivated by while still at School and also identify possible work placements for the future. Furthermore the School invested in Talking mats training to ensure this approach is used throughout each academic year and school staff are skilled to use Talking Mats as each student starts their assessment for their Education and Health Care plan.
We would like to thank Sophie who is from Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS trust for such a great example of how to use the app in EHC Planning . If you are interested in purchasing the digital Talking Mat then please phone the office 01786479511. We are just changing the purchasing model from subscription to one off sale so its temporarily removed from the web site.