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Including persons with complex communication needs in research – a methodology based on Talking Mats

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Aim
Including persons with complex communication needs (CCN) in qualitative research requires careful preparation. Interview questions must be easy to understand and possible to answer despite difficulties in communication.
This paper aims to describe a useful strategy for interviewing and gathering as much data as possible from participants with CCN in interview studies.

Method
Talking Mats was used in an interview study aiming to explore the views and experiences of remote communication. It also aimed to explore the needs and wishes of remote communication in the target group. A structured interview setup was created to cover the subject and to gather as much information as possible from the participants.

The target group was adolescents and adults with CCN who used AAC and who had limited abilities to read and write. This included persons in different ages, living situations, communication problems, types of AAC, and diagnosis.

Results
The presentation will show step by step how the Talking Mats methodology was structured. It will also reflect and discuss how the methodology contributed and influenced the results of the study.

Conclusion
The Talking Mats methodology managed to create a large picture of the views of the person by first identifying the opinion on the subject in focus and after that, step by step, further investigating what the person thinks is important. The approach with these two focuses was a powerful combination.

Author(s):

Margret Buchholz    
Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Sweden

Ulrika Ferm    
DART, Sahlgrenska University Hospital
Sweden

Kristina Holmgren    
Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Sweden

 

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