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The Talking Mats app can be used as an interactive tool to help a person express their opinions, choices, ideas and preferences.The app is specifically designed for people with communication difficulties to express their ideas on a wide range of topics through a structured discussion format.
What we think
The Talking Mat app is based on the Talking Mats tool (https://www.talkingmats.com/). It is based on extensive research and has been designed by Speech and Language Pathologists.
Talking Mats incorporate the use of pictures to facilitate discussions. A person can choose the pictures they would like to have available then sort them under a visual scale (e.g. yes/no/maybe).
The app provides instructions and has a simple display with pictures that can be moved on the screen.
Users can pick from sets of symbols from a variety of topic including: health and well-being, children and young people, eating and drinking and social care.
The symbols that are presented and the layout of the mat can be adjusted based on the person’s needs.
The app is motivating in itself to use as a person is able to choose between a range of symbols to communicate their preferences to another person. A person can move symbols on the screen to reflect their thoughts and preferences.
The app does not produce any sounds and is designed to use interactively during conversations.
The app is self explanatory and quite user friendly.
A person will need to be able to point and swipe along the screen to use app, however a support person could move the symbols to reflect the person’s choices and preferences.
The app can be used across different environments and activities throughout the day.
Yes a person can import their own pictures to the Talking Mat, thereby making it more relevant to their day to day living activities.
The app can provide a visual framework to guide conversations and may be used to:
- get to know a person better
- help a person express their preferences and feelings
- help a person process information and organise their thoughts
- support a person to understand information about key decisions
- help with goal setting and planning
- help a person express their preferences
- structure and facilitate a conversation
To use the PRO version of the app with a full range of pictures, you will need to have internet access to log in and save the mat.
The Talking mats website (https://www.talkingmats.com/) offers more extensive training on how to use Talking Mats to support a person to communicate. This information is not covered in detail in the app, therefore it is recommended to visit to site to get a full understanding of how to use this strategy.
Many people with Autism are visual learners, therefore presenting information in an interactive, visual form may appeal to many people and support a person to express themself.