What is Talking Mats?

Developed from a research project by Joan Murphy in 1998, Talking Mats has become a well-researched communication tool. It involves a ‘talking mat’ (which looks like a car mat) that allows Velcro Symbols to be placed on it.


The aim is to facilitate a topic of discussion using picture cards and the mat. For example you may want to try to find out about a person’s preferential activities.


You would place the topic at the top of the mat and then offer 2 choices either, “Yes” and “No” or “I like” and “I don’t like.” Some people also have a 3rd “maybe” or “not sure” option,




Who can you use it with?

Almost anyone with communication difficulties can use Talking Mats. The resource allows people to think about information in small chunks and to organise their thoughts. We use it with many clients who have:

  • Learning Disability
  • Dementia
  • Aphasia
  • Autism
  • Acquired Brain Injury
  • A range of Speech, Language and Communication needs.


When would you use it?

Again with such a versatile resource the options are endless. Some of the many topics of discussion we have facilitated using Talking Mats are:

  • Food choices and preferences
  • Care plans including what a client wanted from his new home
  • Behaviour and what behaviour is liked/disliked within a setting (school/home)
  • Activity likes/dislikes
  • Sensory preferences
  • AND much more!

Why use Talking Mats?


Talking mats is aided with non-verbal cards; we have used photographic images, symbols and written bullet points to aid discussions.


Talking Mats can help people with communication difficulties have a greater understanding about the chosen topic. It can increase engagement and can enable them to make informed choices.


Talking Mats is one effective method to support people with communication needs, but it should not be used as a stand-alone aid. There are many other methods of communication, which can be used in conjunction with Talking Mats.


NEW  – Talking Mats Digital




Talking Mats have launched their new digital resources available for the iPad.

For information on the versions you can download click here





Further information


You can find out more information about Talking Mats here

Talking Mats offer pre made resources and training for a range of settings. You can download their brochure here

If you would like to discuss this approach with a Speech and Language Therapist, please get in touch with our team where one of our specialist therapists will be able to advise you.


Images © Copyright of Talking Mats