How can you support a child with communication difficulties in child protection?
Talking Mats role in child protection
Here are 3 stories of how Talking Mats has been helpful to staff from Edinburgh Council – Child Protection Team.
Use with parents
N. works with chaotic drug using parents and said “TMs was a turning point – like gold dust – it helped parents identify important issues”.
Involving child in access decisions
A young girl completed two mats the first one about going to mum’s and the second one about going to dad’s. The social worker was then able to explain to the parents how the child felt and TMs allowed the parents to discuss positive ways to unify care. The visual impact of having two differing viewpoints is very powerful.
Use of Talking Mats in children’s panels
L. has trained many Children’s Panel members in Edinburgh and some are now asking social workers if they have used a TM. Using the actual mat rather than a photo was considered to be more beneficial. “it is like the child is present in the room”. An example was given of a young child bringing in her mats about cats. She showed the panel member her mat and it acted as evidence to show the panel that the girl is now able to separate from her mother. Her mother had suffered abuse as a child and she had become over-protective of her daughter. TM increased the child’s participation.
If anyone has used Talking Mats in Child Protection we would love to hear from you.