SPEECH & LANGUAGE THERAPY IN PRACTICE
issues to consider
practicalities to consider
templates of picture symbols
what to do after session 1
video observation framework
evaluation form.The first session provided background and ademonstration and video of the mats being used.Following this, the participants used the
with each other and then worked in smallgroups to develop the materials needed to createa mat to use in their own work setting.
We covered a number of issues which are centralto the successful use of
includingconsistency and complexity of language, the useof open questions, acquiescence, timing, access,areas to sub-mat, obtaining consent and reflectingon your own communication style. The participantswere expected to video their use of the
with a client between the two sessions.own mat in their own work environment providedthem with a steep learning curve that they allfound helpful.
Many participants did not initially like the thoughtof using the video. Comments included:
‘uncomfortable but vital’
it was good once it was over’
‘it is not something I particularly liked doing but it is a very valuable tool and I appreciated being able to view the other videos’
. Despite thisexpressed dislike, it was clear that the use of thevideo was a crucial part of the learning process.
In response to the question, ‘What aspect of thecourse was most useful?’ eleven of the thirteencited making their own video and the groupdiscussion that arose from watching them.
The feedback on the amount of time availableduring the sessions varied between the twogroups. One group felt that session 1 had beentoo rushed while the other commented thatthere was not enough time in session 2.•One person commented, ‘That doing the matstogether was the most effective warm up exerciseI had experienced, you really got to know theother course participants quickly’.Course participants then told us how they usedthe
with specific clients/ patients.This included
• to make choices
‘It helped my client think about the possibleoptions available - it opened her mind out’; ‘I usedit with a child who tended to follow other chil-dren’s lead. You got to know what he was thinkingand the mats helped him make his own decisions.’
• keeping on topic
‘It helped a young man with Asperger syndrome to stay in reality and stopped him going off at tangents.’
‘It took the pressure off verbal interactionthrough the focus on the mat.’
‘It increased equality between the two partners asit’s predominately a visual language system whichmakes the more verbal partner throw away the security and reliance on their verbal skills.’
They were all given the opportunity to meet witheither of us individually between the sessions andsome made use of this; for example, one wantedto discuss how to adapt the ‘starter topic’ as hermain topic was related to food.The second session provided the participants withthe opportunity to use their videos and photographsof the completed mats as a focus for discussion,reflection and consideration of future implications.Some of the issues raised were mat preparation,obtaining permission, the training topic, client’sreaction, participant’s reaction, language leveland use, quality of information and outcomes.The final part was an open discussion of the par-ticipants’ views about the course. All made specificcomments about how useful it had been, howmuch they had enjoyed it, and how they would usethe
in their own workplaces. Figure 2shows the responses to the evaluation form butsome of the answers were particularly helpful to usin planning future workshops. For example:
The insistence that course participants do their