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Talking Mats-Supporting conversations, Supporting friendships

Conversation with friends is key to our well- being.

Talking Mats is a tool to maximise people’s capacity to communicate about things that matter to them.   For people with communication difficulties the ability to have a good conversation is restricted.  For this reason we have developed Conversation sets, described in an earlier blog 

The topics include Holidays, Gardens, Trips out, Sport.  Football even has one if its own!

Some of the members of the National Involvement Network in Edinburgh tried out the conversation sets.  Fiona’s conversation is generally limited to responding to questions and she has a tendency to agree with what other people say.  Using the Holidays topic, she told me that she liked camping and added that she had tried this a long time ago when she was a member of the Girl Guides.    I told her I had also been camping with the Girl Guides so immediately this created a bond between us.  Sharing experiences can be the start of a friendship.


David and James used the Football topic to chat about a recent match they had attended together.   Before using the mat to discuss the match they did not know that they had felt differently about the stadium and the crowd.  This was a surprise and stimulated further chat. Together they relayed a funny incident that had happened and we all had a good laugh- another aspect of building friendships.

David and James have good conversational skills but the Talking Mat took their conversation to a more detailed level.  For people who have difficulty getting involved in conversations these topics allow them to share experiences and find links with other people.