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Talking Mats: an overview of the literature

Research Stream
  • Steffy E.A. Stans (Zuyd University of Applied Sciences - The Netherlands)
  • Ruth Dalemans (Zuyd University of Applied Sciences)
  • Luc de Witte (Zuyd University of Applied Sciences)
  • Anna Beurskens (Zuyd University of Applied Sciences)

This study aims to provide an overview of the characteristics and objectives of Talking Mats (TM), and insights into their reported effects.


A mixed method literature review was conducted. The literature review consisted of two parts; in the first part we searched for information about objectives and underlying (theoretical) concepts of TM. In the second part, additional selection criteria were used to select studies about reported effects of TM.


An overview is presented of the characteristics and objectives of Talking Mats, and results of empirical research about them. The studies showed promising results, but was lacking information about patient reported data, effects, feasibility and information about implementation of TM in daily life/practice.


The review provides information with regard to professionals' practical use; gaps in research; insights into key ingredients of Talking Mats; and suggestions for future research and development of TM and AAC tools in general. Professionals can use the overview of target groups and objectives of TM presented in this review to see if TM could be applicable for their clients, in order to improve communication with their social environment.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
All Ages
Primary school
Secondary school
Special school
Further/Higher Ed.