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Extending the reach of Talking Mats in non-traditional settings

Several groups discussed ideas of extending the reach of Talking Mats at our seminar day in June. Here are the main themes which emerged from the group thinking about non-traditional settings:

Using Talking Mats with people with mental health issues

  • To build trust and relationships as Talking Mats has been proven to improve engagement
  • Helps clients to ‘open up’ as it avoids direct confrontation but is also person centred
  • The interviewer could do a mat on themselves to illustrate how to use it

Using Talking Mats with people with no obvious communication or cognitive difficulties

  • An interview and appraisal tool with staff
  • University students use it to see and reflect on their own issues and then create an action plan
  • It’s being used with expectant couples to use pre-birth to discuss expectations and post-birth to help them come to terms with any issues
  • Using Talking Mats with groups
  • 1 large mat using sets of large symbols – the group comes to an agreementabout where each symbol should go
  • Each member of a group has their own mat and their own set of symbols.Symbols can be displayed 1 at a time using Powerpoint to explain to group and participants can build up their own mat and discuss. This is helpful if time is limited
  • Very useful for focus groups where people can see others’ points of view

Using Talking Mats with people with visual impairment

  • Symbols van be enlarged and printed on yellow background (avoid green)
  • Arial 16 point font for text
  • Braille version
  • Different Textured mats or boxes for ‘top scale’
  • Verbal prompts