Talking Mats is a tool that uses symbols to help people with communication difficulties/ anxiety to indicate what they are thinking / feeling. It creates a safe space for the person to express themselves.
The tools is exactly what is says on the tin! A door mat which is used with a top scale to indicate if a person thinks something is good, not good, or unsure - or the top scale could be happy , not happy or unsure etc.
A topic to talk about is chosen i.e what do you think about school before a child's annual review. The symbols represent different activities - i.e. for the school topic - these could be reading, writing, PE, dinner time, etc. The child is given the symbol and then given time to place the symbol under the appropriate visual scale good, not good unsure.
The mat can then be photographed to show the child / young persons responses. This captures their views and also gives a baseline before the next plan is created / reviewed. Using this tool has helped to change peoples environments for the better by 'hearing' what the child / young person has to say - if there is an issue for example with noise in the dinner hall, if don't have enough time to do their work etc.
Stockport has recently trained 24 people across schools / SLT/ Social Care and will be training two of these staff to become trainers themselves so we can support more people across Stockport to use this tool to capture the voice of the child/young person.
To learn more about talking mats follow the link to their website / follow them on twitter.