Talking Mats and Health

Talking Mats is an evidence-based framework that enables health care staff and patients to communicate effectively together. The research that underpins Talking Mats has involved people with a wide range of communication difficulties, for example,
  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Learning disability
  • Children with Additional Support Needs

Talking Mats was designed by Speech and Language Therapists but is also used by a wide range of people e.g nurses, psychologists, therapists, advocates, dental staff etc

Ways to use Talking Mats in health-related communication difficulties

  • Getting to know someone – their likes or dislikes or what they are managing or not managing
  • Ensuring the individual’s views about what matters most to them are at the centre of the planning process
  • Discharge planning and management, ensuring that the client is involved and that staff and listen to their views
  • Comparing people’s views over time. This can be particularly useful at the beginning and end of therapy input
  • Finding out a patient’s priorities about goals they want to work on

Talking Mats Resources for Health and Wellbeing

We have developed specific resources based on the WHO-ICF (World Health Organisation- International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health).This is a really good starting point for helping people with communication difficulties to explore issues around health and wellbeing.

There are 3 Talking Mats health-related resources

  1. Health and Wellbeing (predominantly for adults) This resource includes 13 topics and enables people to understand, think about and then express their views about these different components of their Health and Wellbeing. It supports them to become more involved in making decisions about interventions and support required.
  2. Consulting Children and Young People. This has age-appropriate communication  symbols for pre-school, primary and secondary aged children.
  3. Talking Mats and Eating and Drinking. This allows people to consider their mealtimes, the process of eating and drinking, the impact on their health and strategies that might help.  It supports them to think through and express their views in this potentially complex area.

All these resources are available as traditional mat-based Talking Mats Original packages or as Digital Talking Mats

To read more about how Talking Mats can be used to explore health issues the following blogs will be helpful

  • Read about a project to find out the views of families at transition to adult health services
  •  This demonstrates the use of the digital app with someone with aphasia
  • Sophie Mitchell, speech and language therapist, describes how she uses the digital Talking Mats to help a young person with learning disability be involved in his education, health and care plan
  • This tells the story of using Talking Mats with someone with dementia who has dental problems
  • Find out how the eating and drinking resource helped Ellie to manage her difficulties
  • This story illustrates how the Mats helped Jill explore cognitive issues which were part of her multiple sclerosis

What our customers are saying…

“I understood this patient more from one session using Talking Mats than I did in the last 18 months working with them.” Occupational Therapist

“Talking Mats is so enabling to help people to voice their feelings (not ours!!) – so amazed at how much info you can find out from someone who is ‘non-verbal’.” Clinical Psychologist

Talking Mats is a great tool to use with many types of patients to help identify meaningful goals and problem areas. It helps structure their thinking as well as our own.” Speech and Language Therapist

“I felt valued.” Man with stroke

“I can overcome my communication hurdles.” Woman with cerebral palsy

“It helps me turn thoughts into actions.” Young man with head injury


Talking Mats is a powerful communication framework using engaging communication symbols  for helping people organise their thoughts when discussing a particular topic, and helps people to express their views on relevant issues. It provides a visual record for reflection and clinical notes.We have developed one of the best apps for communication disability. Health practitioners will get most benefit from the Talking Mats framework if they have attended a recognised Talking Mats training course.