Tag Archives: EHC plans

Changing Placements – Reporting Outcomes with Talking Mats

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Many thanks to Tina Wood, Occupational Therapist at Therapy In Motion, for this great example of how Talking Mats can be used to explore thoughts and feelings both in present-day and in retrospect, to evidence positive outcomes from a change in educational placement. Tina’s use of colour coding and pie charts really helps to illustrate this.

Tina attended our Talking Mats Foundation training back in September 2016 and since then she has been using Talking Mats regularly in her work as an Independent Occupational Therapist.

In this example, Tina has used Talking Mats to enable Ben (name changed for anonymity, age 12½ years) to share his thoughts and feelings using the Talking Mats ‘Consulting Children and Young People’ resource packs – focusing on the topics ‘My Body and Skills’ and ‘What I do and Support’.

At the time of this Talking Mat, Ben had been accessing a new placement at a Pupil Referral Unit for the past 11 months (click on the picture below to see a clearer version).

TW Blog 1

As there was clearly a difference in how Ben felt things were going when he was attending his previous school, Tina decided to ask him to do a retrospective Talking Mat of how things were going for him 11 months ago in January 2018, when he started to feel “unwell”.

This enabled comparison with how he feels now in the “safe setting” of the Pupil Referral unit (click on picture to see a clearer version).

TW Blog 2

Tina then compiled the information from the above tables into pie charts, enabling a clear visual comparison between the two times/situations (click on picture to see a clearer version):

Pie Charts 2

As can be seen from these charts, there had been a huge change in Ben’s perception of how he is coping with life in general and school in particular.

 

Tina recommended that this information needs to be considered along with the rest of Ben’s sensory needs (as reported in her full OT report) when deciding on what is the best educational setting for him after leaving the pupil referral unit.

We love this use of colour coding and pie charts to illustrate the information from Ben’s Talking Mats – to really ensure that Ben’s feelings and thoughts are seen and heard.

 If you would like to know more about accessing Talking Mats training – available across the UK and Ireland as well as online – please take a look here: https://www.talkingmats.com/training/

 If you have any examples of how you report/share information about completed Talking Mats we would be interested to hear about it! Just email laura@talkingmats.com

 

 

 

 

Introducing our new Talking Mats Associate


We are delighted to introduce Laura Holmes our first Regional Talking Mats Associate. She is joining the Talking Mats team and will be working in the North West of England. I will let Laura introduce herself:-

TM Photo

” Hi, I am a Speech and Language Therapist working in Stockport, Cheshire. I am delighted to be joining Talking Mats as the first Regional Associate, covering the North West of England. I work 1 day a week, term-time only for Talking Mats, as well as 3 days a week for the NHS. I am excited about developing awareness, understanding and use of Talking Mats across the area, within the context of the SEND reforms in particular, over the next few months. I feel Talking Mats is a very effective way of truly capturing the voices of the children and young people I work with. The Talking Mats approach also links well with the use of Therapy Outcome Measures, which I am currently trialling with my caseload.  I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences to facilitate wider use of this versatile approach across the North West region.”

It is great to have Laura working with us to build on some of the excellent work being done already in the North West. Two examples of best practice are in Wigan where Talking Mats are used to increase child participation and more recently in Salford. Children’s services in Salford NHS foundation trust are committed to seeking the views of children and young people about how they feel about their health appointments. They have finished piloting their own Talking Mats set and the revised set has just been sent to the printers – it looks great.

We are running a training course in Liverpool on the 21st April and we would love to meet more of you from the North West.

 

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

Hearing the voice of the child

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We are grateful to Emma Atkiss, one of our accredited trainers for this interesting report.

The purpose of The Voice of the Child pilot project carried out by the Wigan Pathfinder team was to obtain pupil views using a viable tool.  The team selected Talking Mats as a framework to support pupils to express their views in decisions regarding their lives.  They were working on the principle that engaging with the young person and his/her family would lead to better outcomes

The project team considered that Talking Mats met the 5 criteria of Shier’s model of participation (2001)

  1. Children are listened to.
  2. Children are supported in expressing their views.
  3. Children’s views are taken into account.
  4. Children are involved in the decision-making processes.
  5. Children share power and responsibility for decision-making.

Click on diagram to enlarge.

MSR.pdf.for web.IND

The pupils in the pilot ranged from 7 to 17 years with a range of disabilities.  During the pupil interviews the team found that the Talking Mats Health and Well being resource provided a practical framework for decision making and target setting

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!

For example :   A seven year old child with Autistic Spectrum Disorder identified both her cognitive strengths and areas for development using the Learning and Thinking domain.  She provided feedback regarding her difficulty in attending when faced with too much information or choice and also her strength in planning skills.  Thinking skills targets and interventions can be developed using this information as a starting point.

Their report states that the information gained from Talking Mats can be used, as part of the Education Health and Care planning and review cycle, to inform both decision-making and goal setting for children and young people   i.e. It identifies strengths; It identifies areas to develop; It identifies the child / young person’s response to a range of experiences; It informs day-to-day decision-making ;  It informs both targets and interventions for Individual Education Plans and it supports transition planning.

Ref :  Engaging the voice of the child / young person at an individual level  – Emma Atkiss,Senior Educational Psychologist and  Caroline Gomez,     Educational Psychologist, Wigan council

 

EHC Plans with the Talking Mats app

Digital Talking Mat ehcp

Sophie Mitchell SLT describes how she supported her students to develop their EHC Plans with the Talking Mats app .

In September 2014 our  team and I were asked to facilitate the production of Education and Health Care plans for the Year 14 students at the Secondary Special School (for adolescents with complex, profound and multiple learning difficulties) where we  are based. As Speech and Language therapists we were asked to work with the students to gain their view on what they would like to be detailed in their plan and also what their aspirations were for their future. We wanted to ensure the production of these plans were as client centred as possible so therefore decided to use the Talking Mats App on the Ipad using the Health and Wellbeing resource.  This resource proved invaluable when working with our students. Not only were our students highly motivated to participate in the sessions due to the Ipad being used, talking mats empowered them to make meaningful decisions about their future, communicate any areas where they would like further support and discuss likes and dislikes. The impact on our students became clear when working with one 19 year old student. Although he did not have any spontaneous expressive language and would only echo things said by others, during a Talking Mats sessions when talking about his likes and dislikes, he appeared to be placing most items under ‘dislike’.  As the session went on the student started to appear agitated, then started pointing towards ‘like’ although no symbol was presented. Suddenly the student said ‘Garden’, still pointing towards the ‘like’. When presented with a gardening symbol he soon placed this under ‘like’. This information was then presented in his plan and his college were instructed to explore opportunities for this student to develop his gardening skills. For all students this information was then used to not only create their Education and Health Care plan but also expand and explore areas they were highly motivated by while still at School and also identify possible work placements for the future.  Furthermore the School invested in Talking mats training to ensure this approach is used throughout each academic year and school staff are skilled to use Talking Mats as each student starts their assessment for their Education and Health Care plan.

We would like to thank Sophie who is from Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS trust  for such a great example of how to use the app in EHC Planning . If you are interested in purchasing the digital Talking Mat then please phone the office 01786479511. We are just changing the purchasing model from subscription to one off sale so its temporarily removed from the web site.