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you locally, and most areas have a policy to support implementation of the Act. Notwithstanding these difficulties, having a process to follow around change of accommodation has been useful for consistency and to clarify expectations. Most importantly we have had some good feedback from service users about how the process ensures that they are in control of where and how they want to live. Whilst this is a small step towards implementing government directives (DH, 2009), we would like to continue to develop this work and encourage SLTP others to do so too. Karen Bamford and Rachael Kasch are speech and language therapists working for Birmingham Community Health Care. For further information or to find out more about the resources they have developed, email and see References Department of Health (2009) Valuing People Now. Available at: en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/ PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_093377 (Accessed: 12/01/11). Mathieson, A. (2004) Valuing People: more evolution than revolution, Learning Disability in Practice 7(2), pp.8-9. McConkey, R. (2007) Variations in the social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in supported living schemes and residential settings, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 51(3), pp.207-217. Mental Capacity Act (2005) Available at: contents (Accessed: 12/01/11). Venditozzi, M. (2009) How I help people move on (2): Talking flats, Speech & Language Therapy in Practice Autumn, pp.26-28. Resources Picture Communication Symbols, www. Talking Mats, Widgit symbols,

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In Brief...

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Talking Mats and dementia

Joan Murphy and Tracey Oliver on the use of Talking Mats in managing daily living discussions for families affected by dementia.

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ecent guidance from the government recommends that people with dementia should have more involvement in decisions about their care options. Government policy also states that people with dementia and their carers should influence how government strategies and targets are implemented. Most families try hard to include their relative who has dementia in discussions around their care, but this is often difficult due to the communication and cognitive problems associated with the illness. This latest research, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and carried out by the Talking Mats team at the University of Stirling, has implications for the improvement and delivery of services. It could also be a significant help for people with dementia and their families The project explored if people with dementia, living at home, and their family carers can use Talking Mats together, to discuss how they are managing daily living activities. Eighteen couples (a person with dementia and a family carer) were involved and were asked to discuss the following topics using Talking Mats and come to agreement together: 1. Personal care (washing, dressing) 2. Getting Around (walking, using the stairs) 3. Housework (cooking, making the bed) 4. Activities (watching TV, listening to music). Following analysis of video data the results showed that both the people with dementia and the family carers felt more involved in discussions about how they were managing their daily living when using Talking Mats, compared to simply having a conversation. They also felt more satisfied with the outcome of those discussions. Two of the key outcomes were: 1. People with dementia reported that Talking Mats helped them to clarify their thoughts, express them to their family carers, and reach a decision in these discussions. One person said: It is so difficult to tell [my wife] what I think when I cant remember the words, the pictures could help me a lot. 2. Although people with dementia and their family carers both felt more involved in discussions when using Talking Mats, the increased feeling of involvement was significantly higher for the family carers,

who repeatedly reported feeling listened to by the person with dementia and felt that their loved one could actually see their point of view. One carer said: It never seems like he is listening to me. With this I can make him sit down and look at symbols and get him to understand what I am trying to say. The study concluded that Talking Mats helped improve communication between people with dementia and their family carers, and this hopefully could lead to improved relationships. Joan Murphy and Tracey Oliver are researchers at the Talking Mats Research & Development Centre, University of Stirling. Resources a copy of the findings and the full report on the project can be found at http:// further information about Talking Mats resources and training is at www.

Phonology by numbers
Maggie Robinson suggests a simple, easy-toprepare game for working on phonology. Aim To practise using a phoneme in words or sentences. Materials You need approximately 10 picture cards which illustrate items with the target phoneme in target position in their names (15 is the maximum I would suggest). Number the pictures from 1-10, on the front. Method Spread the cards out face down. Take turns to turn over a card and either say the word, or say the word in a sentence. The numbers on the front of the cards have to be placed in order. The player who turns over number 1 can leave it face uppermost on the table. Any other number must be placed back face down. Once number 1 is face uppermost, the player who turns over number 2 can leave that face uppermost, beside the number 1. The game continues until all the pictures are in a line face uppermost. Maggie Robinson is an advanced practitioner speech and language therapist in Skelmersdale, email