2. Communication Needs within Youth Justice – Part 1: On 17th April 2017, we organised a seminar to look at underlying issues and share good practice when addressing the communication needs of people in youth justice. We had representatives from: the Scottish government, the NHS; Third sector organisations working in youth justice, the police, social workers, professional bodies, universities and social work – from as far afield as New Zealand. The emphasis from the start was that understanding communication is key to improving service delivery. https://www.talkingmats.com/communication-needs-in-youth-justice/
3. Communication Needs within Youth Justice – Part 2: The afternoon session of our seminar on 17.04.17 continued the underlying theme that communication support needs are often hidden and many looked after children have support needs that remain unidentified. The outcome of the day was the establishment of a collaborative network. https://www.talkingmats.com/youth-justice-and-communication-needs-2/
Many thanks to Nicola Lewis from London who has sent us this powerful blog. She has 2 roles – one as a Registered Intermediary with adults with learning disabilities and the other as a family mediator working with children.
I started work as an intermediary, assisting vulnerable people to communicate their evidence to the police and in court. I work with adults with a mild to moderate learning disabilities or mental health issues and with children. The Talking Mats tool has proved invaluable, initially as a rapport building exercise which enables me to build a connection with the person. At the same time I can assess their communication in an informal way. I notice that it is often a relief for those who don’t want to talk as they can just engage in moving the pictures around, without having to make eye contact or without having to speak.They do often start chatting, in spite of themselves as there are not many people who don’t like to talk about their likes, dislikes and preferences and to be heard about what is important to them. I use active listening: reflecting back what they say, summarising, reframing and a touch of humour if appropriate to build a connection, using the mat. When they see me the next time, they often remember me in connection with the Talking Mat:”oh yeah, we did that picture thing!”
I also work as a family mediator and have a specialist qualification enabling me to meet with the children of the family to discuss their wishes and feelings. Again, the Talking Mats tool is the first thing out of my bag and on the table. After working through likes and dislikes in a natural and informal way, I can then use the cards with the children and ask about “your family”, “where you live” etc to find out about how they are managing in a divorce situation and what they might want their parents to know about their feelings. Many mediators will only meet with older children. The Talking Mats tool has given me access to the thoughts of those as young as 5. They are at ease with me and there is a level of trust that did not exist when they entered the room.I have had 100% positive feedback from these meetings as a result.
Thanks for developing this amazing tool. It is incredibly useful to me in both my roles.
Please send us any other stories you would like to share
The Scottish Government has granted further funding for the Keeping Safe Talking Mats training and resources.
This extension coincides with the launch of the Keeping Safe report 2013-2016 at a seminar on Thursday 19th May at the Raploch Community Centre Stirling. It’s great to hold our event during Learning Disability week where the theme is Celebrating Success. This project has undoubtedly been a success. 234 Keeping Safe communication resources are in use across Scotland. Staff who have used the Keeping Safe resource report that it supports Safeguarding and helps people think how their life is going, enabling them to express concerns they might have, either big or small. The impact that the resource has on the lives of people with learning disability is powerful. You can read more about this in our previous blog or in the Keeping Safe report 2013-2016
The seminar on the 19th of May is an opportunity to share experiences and explore further some of the issues that exist for people with learning disabilities.
The next tranche of funding provides more training courses for:
People who work with adults with learning disabilities in Scotland to learn the skills and use the resource to support listening to their service users and
The staff who use the resource regularly to become Keeping Safe trainers and support the aim of ensuring adults with a learning disability in Scotland have access to this communication tool. We particularly want to target geographical areas that do not yet have Keeping Safe trainers, e.g. Dumfries and Galloway and Aberdeenshire.
If you work with adults with learning disabilities in Scotland and would like to apply for Keeping Safe training please contact the office firstname.lastname@example.org Application for
This year the Scottish Government recognised the value of using Talking Mats as a conversation framework to enable people with learning disability to reflect on their lives and express their views including raising any areas of concern. One of the key themes from the national Scottish strategy for people with learning difficulties ‘Keys to Life’ is to keep people safe, but it was also recognised that the Talking Mat that had been designed could also help with other themes –
Helping people with learning disabilities stay in control
Shift the culture and ensure care is genuinely person centred
Evidence that the views of people with learning disabilities have been taken into account
Support people to cope with adversity and loss and enhance resilience
Address health inequalities and reduce early deaths
The Scottish Government has funded a 3 year project which we are calling Keeping Safe.
This project will
Produce a new resource based on the feedback from earlier projects This has 3 topics of conversation . Firstly ,How people are feeling about their Health and well-being secondly, their relationships. For people who are able to think and express their views at a more abstract level the resource has a third topic and gives them space to reflect on their thoughts and feelings.
Train staff in the 14 health boards across Scotland to use Talking Mats and this resource specifically. This training will be provided jointly with KASP so staff can be supported to think through how they respond appropriately to any concerns that may arise
Ensure that all health board areas have accredited trainers who will be able to lead ongoing training and sustain use of the resource
If you work with adults with learning disabilities in Scotland and would be like to be part of this exciting initiative please contact us at email@example.com.
My name is Karin Torgny, I’m from Sweden. My background is in journalism and culture studies. I used to work in “The Development Centre for Double Exposure” for many years, and our mission was to improve and spread knowledge about violence against women with disabilities. My special interest during these years was AAC. Today I work for Unicef and in different projects on human rights issues.
A year ago I did my accredited Talking Mats training in Stirling, Scotland. Since then I have given my first course in using Talking Mats when talking about abuse and harm. It was a great experience and an opportunity to work with an enthusiastic group of women who were open and willing to communicate using symbols. They are all in an organisation working with girls/women with intellectual disability exposed to violence and oppression in the name of honour.
I think Talking Mats is a good tool when approaching difficult subjects and I hope to run more courses like this in Sweden in the future. Lately I was interviewed on the Swedish Radio and talked about the use and possibilities with Talking Mats when someone is exposed to harm and abuse.