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Talking Mats as a Goal Setting and Review Tool in Clients with Complex Communication Needs

Practice Report
  • Helen Paterson (Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability)
  • Marc Viera (Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability)

To demonstrate the use of Talking Mats as a goal setting and review tool.


Clients with complex disabilities often have a reduced ability to communicate their experience and needs around therapy services being provided. Talking Mats were used to review the client's use of technology for communication and leisure. Photo and video documentation of the Talking Mats were collected.


Talking Mats frequently revealed new information that provided key insight into the reasons why a client engaged or disengaged with technology. Having that information made therapy interventions much more effective and generally led to higher levels of engagement in activity. Talking Mats documentation provided a client-created measure which was added to the medical record.


Talking Mats provided a structured, engaging, and effective means to allow clients with complex disabilities to communicate their needs and experiences, allowing for modifications to improve interventions. Talking Mats helped make interventions more relevant to the client's unique situation.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
All Ages