ARC Scotland and the National Involvement Network invited us to take part in their project Involvement in Action to develop and use Talking Mats to explore people’s experiences of two of the statements from the Charter for Involvement.
Statement 2: we have the right to live our lives independently
Statement 3: We must be involved in our communities
Fiona, who is involved in the Working Together Group here at Hansel, was happy to take on this additional role.
The first task was to develop the Mat and the words and symbols which would be used. In the end there were two Mats, one for the concrete things, like neighbours and work, and one for more abstract ideas like being accepted and taking risks. It was also decided that the Mats should look like the Charter and use the same characters.
Fiona and 7 other NIN members, each with a support worker as an equal learning partner, were then trained in using Talking Mats. They did the Mats themselves as the thinker (the thinker is the person whose views as being sought) then learned to be the listener (the person who interviews the thinker).
Fiona is now practicing her new skills, getting ready to help her peers express their experiences about living their lives independently and being involved in their communities. ARC Scotland has published a short film about the project which shows Fiona in action. Well done Fiona!