Implementing Talking Mats; what works well

ehcp consultation

What works well when implementing Talking Mats?

Our last blog highlight how  the Wigan Pathfinder Project selected Talking Mats from a range of tools to consult with pupils who have Education, Health and Care  plans (EHCP) . They reported that Talking mats provided :

  • An objective, neutral space – a thinking tool- ‘Children and young people are able to consider their priorities when setting targets’.
  • Opportunities for change – ‘Children and young people are able to make changes to their initial thoughts and have time to decide and reconsider options’.
  • A truly person centred approach
  • It was fun!

Additional factors they commented on which worked well  when consulting with pupils about decision making and goal setting were:

  • Good liaison with parents and staff who know the child well before the session
  • Adapting the length of the session to the child’s needs
  • Ensuring a suitable room without too many distractions
  • Using the teaching scale
  • Putting the child’s name on the mat
  • Placing all topics in one envelope for easy access
  • Allowing time to sort symbols and discard irrelevant ones.
  • Reducing the number of symbols used depending on the child’s needs
  • Changing the top scale symbols to support the child’s understanding where necessary
  • Keeping a verbal record where appropriate
  • Working in pairs whilst learning the approach
  • Using the effectiveness coding framework (all case studies scored above 75%, therefore considered effective using this measure)

The Talking mats training focuses on teaching how to establish a consistent and appropriate top scale, maintaining a clear topic and using the effectiveness framework. It also presents a model for thinking about who can and cannot use the mat and for what types of questions and discussions

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