Talking Mats – giving people with a disability a voice

Talking Mats is an excellent tool that can give people living with a communication disability the ability to communicate what matters to them. This tool can be used with both children and adults and has shown through research as an effective communication method for people living with stroke, dementia, and intellectual disability.

Some examples of uses include:

  • Helping people to express their goals for day programs, rehabilitation, and therapy services.
  • Allowing people with intellectual disability to give their opinion about decisions.
  • Enhancing comprehension in people who have had a stroke.
  • Helping people with dementia to stay on topic and follow the track of a conversation.
  • Assisting people to express both negative and positive views
  • Allowing people to give feedback about a topic.

talking mats example of activities i enjoy

Above is an example of a Talking Mat. This mat has been used to understand the interests of a client. Possible interests are printed onto small cards. “Yes”, “no” and “maybe” categories are placed across the top of the board, with the topic of conversation placed down the bottom. The client then places each activity into a category to communicate areas of interest and what they like.

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By Karen Oswald East Hume Regional Communication Service Speech Pathologist