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Hearing the Voice of the Child – Part 2

Thanks to Laura Holmes for telling us more about the innovative work in Stockport.

As part of an ongoing project, we at NHS Stockport Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service are introducing the Talking Mats approach to support the children we work with to contribute to their own EHC Planning, enabling them to make their voices heard.
For example, I have used the ‘Consulting Children and Young People – My Body and Skills’ (Primary) digital resource  to help identify and plan target areas for an 6 year old child with a diagnosis of Autism. I selected a top scale of ‘happy/unsure/not happy’ and chose a variety of options symbols from the resource. The child (R) was then able to drag and drop each option symbol to the area she felt it belonged in, producing the following talking mat:
Digital TM picture Laura Holmes

Whilst completing the mat the child volunteered further information about particular options – in general I find I get to know the children I work with much quicker using this approach!
Once complete, we agreed that we would sub-mat the option ‘talking’ (which had been placed under ‘unsure’) and explore that option as a topic in our next therapy session.
I then thought about all the possible options I wanted to explore in this submat, and created symbols using Boardmaker. I was able to add these symbols as options for the digital mat by taking photos using my Ipad and selecting them from my camera roll.
R completed the submat as follows:

Digital TM submat Laura H

The mat enabled R to pinpoint the areas of talking she feels unsure about – i.e. ‘talking in front of my class/ in a large group’; ‘making choices’; ‘taking turns to talk’. I was then able to include this information in my review report, attaching the pictures of the mats as evidence of consultation. My review report included details of specific targets and recommendations to support R to work on the areas she had identified, which are designed to be incorporated into her EHC Plan.

We know from our own network that many practitioners are looking for training and tools to help implement the SEND reforms. Talking Mats are running a free seminar in Stockport to let practitioners see how Talking Mats can be used. The morning session is FULL  but we have added an afternoon session. Book your place now as it is first come first served and places are filling up fast.  Free Stockport afternoon seminar