Digital Talking Mats was designed in 2012 and was primarily designed to be used as an app on iPad and some Android tablets. The web browser version which uses Flash has never had the full functionality of the app version e.g. automatic reports, ability to add photographs, and unfortunately, Flash became obsolete in December 2020, a matter that was out-with our control. We sought investment funding and brought forward our plans to develop Version 2 of Digital Talking Mats and have been working hard with a tech company, MTC Media, to develop a new version that is responsive and is in line with current technology.
A blog outlining the new Digital Talking Mats was posted in Dec 2020: https://www.talkingmats.com/new_digital_resource/ . You will see it includes many of the features you have been asking for. We were hoping this would be ready for December 2020 but it has taken longer than we expected or wanted. You can still access Digital Talking Mats as an app on iPad or Android and it works as normal. However, Flash ending in December does leave us a gap in remote use and when using from a web browser.
Digital Talking Mats was not designed for remote use; we were not thinking pandemics in those days! When lockdown happened, we worked hard to find a way to support remote use and found that using it as a web browser application and sharing screens through platforms such as Teams or Zoom was the most effective way to make that happen. You can, however, still use it remotely if you have both an iPad/Android tablet and a laptop, by sharing your screen on the iPad with the Talking Mats application open and combining that with running a remote meeting on your laptop. This way you can see the Thinker and the Digital Talking Mats. We attach the detailed instructions and an example of Lois doing the Mat with our Office Manager, Heather Using Talking Mats virtually with two devices update Jan 21. You may find other temporary solutions – if so, let us know.
We will be in touch as soon as we have news of Version 2 and you will be migrated across to the new version (type of access will vary according to what you originally purchased from us). We anticipate this to be in March 2021.
We wanted the transition to be smoother than it is proving to be but hope you will understand that we are doing what we can. We really value your support in these tricky times. The new version is looking great and if you want to be sent information about being an earlier adopter then please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will keep you updated.
We developed our Talking Mats’ digital resource way back in 2012 when the online world was a simpler place. When first launched our technology was cutting edge – we were one of the few applications that worked on both Apple and android devices as well as web browsers. Over the years it has been used in many different settings; schools, hospitals, health centres, social work support and day centres to name a few. Unfortunately, digital development does not stay static and what was cutting edge then is now becoming outdated and so we need to revise and produce Version 2. We are delighted and excited to let you know we are launching our new digital resource early in 2021.
2020 has seen an unprecedented focus on digital communication and our web-based digital resource has proved to be invaluable. Our Talking Mats’ community applied the web-based digital resource in conjunction with Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Attend Anywhere to allow remote contact when it was needed the most. However, technology progresses and recently many of you will have noticed a message from Adobe Flash Player plugin when you access the digital resource from the Google Chrome web browser. This is because Flash Player will become obsolete at the end of 2020, making it very difficult to use our current resource from the web. We began upgrading this year to ensure the stability of the digital resource and we have also taken this opportunity to improve its functionality and include new features. Flash Player will hopefully work on other browsers and it looks like its best to swap to Opera as a web browser but we are still seeking guidance on this and will let you know when advice is clearer. However you can also hare your iPad on teams and zoom and guidance on how to do this is can be found here Using Talking Mats virtually with two devices update Jan 21
Downloaded apps will still work on tablets and iPads but Talking Mats will only offer support for a limited time in 2021.
We have been working with Dundee based media company, MTC Media, over the past few months to design our new digital resource and whilst it is not quite ready, we wanted to share some of the new features.
‘Can I make the mat on the screen bigger and less cluttered?’
‘I’d like to be able to use a card from Health in my mat using the Secondary symbols, but I can’t’
‘Can I upload my own photographs?’
These questions and comments are some of the most common that our digital users ask.
Our new resource is user friendly and intuitive with bigger text, a larger area to create your mat and the ability to hide symbols until you are ready to use them.
You can create your own library of topics from across the different bundles.
Photographs can be easily uploaded and added to your library
This is just a small teaser to whet your whistle and to end 2020 with something to look forward to.
The way we sell this new resource will be changing to a subscription model but we will keep in touch with you about this and all existing digital users will automatically be moved over to our new digital resource. We are sure you will like it and want to stay with it.
We are all looking forward to celebrating Talking Mats is 21 on the 15th August
The morning is aimed at people who are experienced Talking Mats practitioners and will extend thinking and Talking Mats practice. There are an interesting range of parallel sessions to choose from. Each participant will get to choose three topics to attend.
Talking Mats as a Thinking Tool
Embedding Talking Mats in Schools
Talking Mats in Forensic Settings
Talking Mats in End of Life Care
My experience of using Talking Mats as a parent
Talking Mats and Positive behaviour Support
Talking Mats and Supported Decision- Making
Empowering people with Learning Disabilities to be Talking Mats Listeners and Trainers
Talking Mats and Children’s Mental Health
The afternoon is more informal and there will be an opportunity to engage with some of our partners – see how they use Talking Mats and try things out . There will be posters on the use of Talking Mats in lots of different places and for a wide range of applications.
Plus there will be lunch, cake and a few bubbles !
You can come to the morning only, afternoon only or come for the whole day.
If you can’t come to our event watch out for out blogs and social media celebrating the reach of Talking Mats for 21 days before the 15th of August .Please join in with your contributions using the hashtag #TMis21. For 21 days after our event we will be having a special Birthday offer! Watch this space, more to follow …….
Rachel Woolcomb, our Talking Mats OT Associate, tells us about the recent Royal College of Occupational Therapists’ Report and considers the ways Talking Mats can support:
The Royal College of Occupational Therapists have recently published a new report. “Making personalised care a reality: The role of occupational therapy.”
As the OT Associate for Talking Mats, I took the opportunity to review the document and consider how Talking Mats can help OT’s in fulfilling the recommendations made.
The report recognises that people living with long-term conditions bring different and equally important, knowledge and expertise to the decision –making process.
It challenges OT’s to ensure that they really listen to, and hear the views of the people they work with.
A Talking Mat can help facilitate this. It helps people to understand what is being discussed, to reflect and organise their thoughts, to say what matters most to them and record their views. It helps OT’s to really listen, to learn new information, to involve the person in their own planning and support decision making.
Read more about how Talking Mats can help OT’s to make personalised care a reality in the TMOT Resource 1: TM Personalised Care – Copy.
Rachel would love to hear from you if you have any examples of how Talking Mats have helped you to provide personalised care, or if you want to know more about OT and Talking Mats. Her email is: Rachel@talkingmats.com.
If you are feeling inspired and would like to find out about accessing Talking Mats Foundation Training, take a look at our upcoming courses across the UK, as well as online and organisational training options: https://www.talkingmats.com/training/
Grateful thanks to Prof. Dr. Norina Lauer, OTH Regensburg – University of Applied Sciences, Germany for this blog.
At the conference of the German Society for Aphasia Research and Treatment (GAB) from the 1st to the 3rd of November Franziska Rau presented a poster – Let pictures talk – about her bachelor thesis on Talking Mats.
Speech and language therapists from German-speaking countries meet at this conference to present their latest research findings. This year’s theme was ” Aphasia Therapy Digital”.
The presented bachelor thesis about Talking Mats was performed at the HAN University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands, and was written by Franziska Rau together with Karoline Bitter and Lara Stobrawe. The students asked 29 people with aphasia and 63 people without aphasia for how representative they rated the images and terms used in the Communication section of the Digital Talking Mats Health & Well-being resource. While the healthy persons judged many items as not clear enough, the people with aphasia estimated significantly more pictures and names as appropriate. For this purpose, various reasons have been discussed, such as the possibility that the persons with aphasia directly perceived the pictures and terms as aids, while healthy persons judged more critically on the basis of the task. But also problems of concentration or comprehension in people with aphasia would be causally conceivable. This should be examined in further studies.
The poster was presented as part of a poster session and was well received by the audience. Thanks to Franziska, Karoline and Lara for their great study and to Holger Grötzbach, Janine Coopmans and Xaver Koch who supported the students.
We are always happy to receive projects and posters from anyone studying how Talking Mats can be used