An exciting new health and education tool developed at the University’s Innovation Park will help people with communication difficulties.
Talking Mats - an innovative and award-winning communication tool - is now evolving into a digital application.
Developed by Dr Joan Murphy, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the School of Applied Social Science, and by fellow speech and language therapist Lois Cameron, the original Talking Mats involves answering questions by placing symbols onto a textured mat divided into three response areas: positive, negative and neutral or unsure.
It is designed to help both children and adults with communication difficulties think about issues discussed with them and to record their thoughts in a visual way. It is used by clinical practitioners, carers and support workers in a wide range of health, social work, residential and education settings.
"We support a variety of individuals from children as young as three to the elderly," said Dr Murphy. "Adding the digital version to our original resources means that we can tailor our services to the individual’s preferences.
"There is always a place for a low-tech resource, but some people thrive on and respond better to technology. In test groups that included teachers, social workers, relatives of the individuals requiring support, and learning support managers, Talking Mats Digital has received great feedback.”
Communication difficulties affect more than 2,500,000 people in the UK and can arise from congenital or acquired disabilities, degenerative illnesses, mental health problems, literacy problems and personal distress.
Talking Mats Ltd was established in 2011 by co-directors Murphy and Cameron and was named 2012 Start Up Social Enterprise of the Year at the Scottish Social Enterprise Awards. It has now joined forces with software solution specialists Arum, to launch the new high-tech digital version.