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Talking Mats
Talking Mats | Symbol Mat | Word Mat
Talking Mats are a way of helping a child communicate their likes and dislikes, as well as their feelings.   This can be general, or specific to a location or situation.   They can be tailored to meet the child's communication skills and can be a one-off exercise or an ongoing support.

I also find that it helps the child organise their thoughts and feelings, and to begin to understand them and their context.   It can help a child to feel included and 'listened to'.

They are best delivered in a distraction free environment, with as much support as required, but can also hang on a bedroom wall so the child can add and change things as time goes on.   An adult can then keep an eye on the mat and be aware of how the child is feeling about something.   This is particularly useful when the child experiences a lot of anxiety but finds it difficult to communicate their feelings.

You can look at the range of emotions your child feels, which may also help them understand more about the differences between the feelings.   A basic mat may look at happy and sad, while a more advanced one may explore angry, worried and scared.

You can combine a Talking Mat with a feelings board.   If the child struggles to think outside the moment, you can use a feelings board for them to express how they are feeling during an activity, then support them to add the activity to the appropriate section of the Talking Mat.

You can read lots more about Talking Mats here.