Links and resources

Resources our Talking Trouble Aotearoa NZ team have created


Actions to take to improve communication accessibilty in legal spaces

Actions to take to improve communication accessibilty in legal spaces

This one pager celebrates 13 actions that people working in courts and other legal spaces take that help to create a communication accessible setting.

COAT: Communication Observation Assessment Tool

COAT Communication Observation Assessment Tool Talking Trouble June 2021

We created this tool when providing training with youth justice professionals. The aim of the tool was to provide a structure to help the team consider the barriers to communication that they may want to amend or remove, and to consider the opportunities that could be taken or developed further. We have found it useful but it has not be validated or researched. If it is useful, please use it and let us know how you found it,  and please acknowledge our authorship.


We have been creating a range of resources to support conversations about COVID-19. All of these resources, including information about effective communication in virtual or phone meetings and legal hearings and resources for international readers  are here:

COVID-19 (Delta) resources for Oranga Tamariki – 2021

Communication Passports

We’ve had lots of requests for templates for Communication Passports. There is no ‘right’ way to do these and each needs to be personalised for (and by!) the person the Communication Passport is for, but if our templates are useful and give you ideas, please go ahead and use them. Please email us to let us know what you tried and how it went. We find people of all age can find a Communication Passport a really useful way to let people know what they want others to know and do to help communication go more smoothly.

Bail Conditions template

  • We’ve had a few requests for this template showing a visual version of common conditions given to people on bail  recently so here you go! Bail template from Talking Trouble public use We give permission for this to be used to help create communication accessibility (not for any financial gain please) and let us know your stories about how it was received.

Resource to help create communication accessible Family Group Conferences

  • This resource written by our amazing, Alayne McKee appeared in the Youth Crime Action Plan newsletter published 1 Oct 2018 and is designed to help Family Group Conferences be as communication accessible as possible. Check out useful practical tips and examples to help children, young people and families/whānau give their views and follow the discussion. Good-Communication-Practice in-FGCs

TTANZ Communication Checklist

  • We’ve developed this checklist for our own work. You are welcome to download and use this. Please only share with appropriate acknowledgement of TTANZ.TTANZ SLT Assessment Communication Checklist young person November 2016 fillable form
  • We’ve updated our checklist to create a shorter version, and if you want a really quick one page profile checklist, check out the rapid checklist. These can be used by you or other people to help you reflect on what you have observed about a person’s speech, language and communication profile.

TTANZ Rapid Speech Language and Communication Profile Tool 2017

TTANZ SLT Quick Communication Checklist 2017

  • We are also developing a resource to help young people reflect on their own skills that is designed specifically for NZ young people (contact us if you would like a copy).

Mental health visual resources

Link to recent media relating to Talking Trouble Aotearoa NZ

Top tips for Youth Justice staff

  • The list on this top tips for YJ staff sheet originated from  Twitter – the wonderful Natalie Kippen (speech-language pathologist and researcher from Perth) had asked this question:SPs/SLTs in #youthjustice, you are giving frontline staff 2 points to think about/tips to use, re:#communication, when working w youth. what are they?

    and some great contributions came in from SLTs around the world (see compiled list). We’ve used this list with a staff in a Youth Unit to create discussion. Let us know what you try and how it goes. 

Lego Therapy Resources

Youth Voices about Youth Justice

Our Communication Postcards

  • These can be downloaded as a pdf (look on the right of this page for the link) to help professionals think about how they can help to communication as effective as possible. These cards were developed as part of a project we have been doing this year with the fabulous team of social workers and Family Group Conference coordinators at Oranga Tamariki Youth Justice, and they were shared at a youth justice stakeholders meeting with Police YouthAid, Drug and Alcohol Counsellors and others.  Let us know how you use them and what impact they have.

Talking Trouble Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

Some Talking Trouble publications:

  • “WHEN THEY SAY IT FAST AND I DON’T UNDERSTAND AND THEN I JUST… GOES BLANK AND THEN BOOM”: Helping legal contexts make sense to complainants and defendants in New Zealand. In Intellectual Disability Australasia, ASID Vol 39, Issue 4, December 2018

TTANZ publications in the Youth Court Newsletter:

Resources from others

NZ justice research

We’re excited about the new research publications from Kelly Howard’s research conducted at The University of Auckland concerning the use of Communication Assistants in Youth Justice settings in NZ.

Kelly has created a fabulous website that explains her research findings (shout out to Carol Green, the artist that has created Kelly some wonderful images and who also does all our own Talking Trouble artwork and design).

Kelly’s research has been supervised by one of Talking Trouble’s Academic Advisors, Dr Clare McCann.

Howard, K., McCann, C., & Dudley, M. (2019). ‘It’s really good, much needed, why hasn’t it happened earlier?’ Professionals’ perspectives on the benefits of communication assistance in the New Zealand youth justice system.  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. Advance online publication.

Howard, K., McCann, C., & Dudley, M. (2019). ‘I was flying blind a wee bit’: Professionals’ perspectives on challenges facing communication assistance in the New Zealand youth justice system.  The International Journal of Evidence & Proof.  Advance online publication.


Howard, K., McCann, C., Ewing, A., Dudley, M., & Brookbanks, W. (2019).  Two legal concepts collide: the intersection of unfitness to stand trial and communication assistance.  New Zealand Universities Law Review.

Howard, K., McCann, C., & Dudley, M. (2020).  What is communication assistance? Describing a new and emerging profession in the New Zealand youth justice system.

Howard, K., McCann, C., & Dudley, M. (2019). ‘It was like more easier’: Rangatahi (young people) and their whānau (family) talk about communication assistance in the New Zealand youth justice system.


Professor Ian Lambie’s Chief Science Advisor to the Justice Sector’s reports

Professor Ian Lambie, Chief Science Advisor for the Justice sector, has produced a series of four reports related to criminal justice.

Four reports relating to justice from Professor Ian Lambie

Open access special edition on youth justice and speech language pathology (therapy) and new open access paper by Professor Pamela Snow

Fabulous range of useful papers here that can be read online or downloaded. Brilliant work from the team at Speech Pathology Australia’s Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech Language Pathology:

Pam Snow’s latest paper is a comprehensive update and again is open access.

  • Speech-Language Pathology and the Youth Offender: Epidemiological Overview and Roadmap for Future Speech-Language Pathology Research and Scope of Practice in Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools Volume 50, Issue 2.


Talking Mats

We have to Accredited Talking Mats trainers in our team and regularly deliver Talking Mats courses with our colleagues from TalkLink. The Talking Mats blog contains an enormous resources for professionals working across a wide range of sectors, including entries about justice, education, social work, behaviour, forensic health as well as many others.

  • If you haven’t done Talking Mats training, do it, as you won’t regret having more tools to help you consult with others: Talking Mats
Supported Decision Making and Safeguarding
Talking Mats has been a useful tool in supported decision making and safeguarding processes. More resources from NZ that may be useful are available here. Mana Whaikaha Enabling Good Lives project – “transformed disability support system” pilot

Contact PASAT if you are concerned about an adult at risk for advice and support.

From the PASAT website:
“Safeguarding is a range of activities and response that promote and protect human rights, health, wellbeing and culture, and prevent or reduce harm, abuse and neglect”

Contact Oranga Tamariki if you are concerned about a child or young person:

If you are concerned about anyone in immediate danger, call the Police.


Blurred Borders

There are some fantastic Australia legal visual resources available here:


Working Through Communication Barriers: your guide to supporting people within the justice system downloadable free book

Uniting Communities (South Australia) have  produced a new 2020 publication called Working Through Communication Barriers: your guide to supporting people within the justice system.  This is a highly practical resource and we were delighted to see our own work referenced there.


Bright spots 

Useful research and resources to help children and young people understand why they are in care


Useful literacy resource for post-16s: Phonics Approaches Toolkit

Free to download on:


Three useful pages to follow from wonderful colleagues in speech-language pathology/therapy across the ditch 

David Kinnane’s Banter Speech and Language from Australia’s blog has some highly accessible and practical ideas for supporting children and young people’s language and communication development. We loved his latest on Developmental Language Disorder.

Dr Suze Leitao’s fabulous pages from Curtin University in Perth.

Dr Nathaniel Swain’s new blog summarising the latest research ‘Read the Research’ series kicks off with a fantastic paper by Dr Maxine Winstanley on justice/developmental language disorders. Winstanley, M., Webb, R. T., & Conti‐Ramsden, G. (2019). Psycholinguistic and socioemotional characteristics of young offenders: Do language abilities and gender matter?. Legal and Criminological Psychology. 


Benchmark:best practice-best evidence with vulnerable people


NZSTA Giving Voice Communication Access Checklist

  • NZSTA (the New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists’ Association) has a Giving Voice Aotearoa campaign on currently which we are proud to be part of. Use this Giving Voice checklist tool to help reflect on how communication is at your place/in your service. This is a quick and easy tool that you can use yourself or with your team to think about things you can do to make your place and service easier from a communication perspective. Sally from our team was involved in the development of this tool which takes a similar approach to what we have used in some of the big projects we have been involved in e.g. recently we used it in a conference workshop to help Paediatricians to think about how they communicate with children and families/whānau using their services and what they’d like to change. If you use it, get in touch and tell us how it has gone for you or explore the links below for things you can do to make things easier.

Books and practical resource manuals

TTANZ can provide a service to make your materials in an “Easy Read” format – contact us to discuss this.

 NZ Children’s Commissioner’s Listening 2 Kids resource. 

Useful and practical advice and ideas for anyone, or any organisation wanting to engage with children and  young people to hear their views.

Raise Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder

Watch videos, download articles and slides about Developmental Language Disorder. Sally has been involved in the international CATALISE project linked to this website. CATALISE worked on developing terminology and frameworks for talking about language difficulties in children. A useful summary of what the CATALISE project was about can be found here:


The Royal College of Speech Language Therapists in the UK have run an extremely active and successful campaign to raise awareness of the communication needs of young offenders.

Raising Your Game

Raising Your Game’s project by Mencap has developed a range of resources including a film “Getting Ready for Court”

Restorative Practice/Restorative Justice resources

Attending Restorative Justice meetings or participating in other Restorative Practice activities can often involve a lot of talk. Efforts are being made to ensure all can fully participate and these links might be useful to look at:

Videos and materials from MOE’s PB4L website by Professor Chris Marshall that consider how schools might become Restorative Practice contexts

Videos and materials from MOE’s PBMargaret Thorsbone’s website which has a link to her books written with Nick Burnett, called Restorative Practice and Special Needs.

Restorative Justice Aotearoa NZ has a wealth of information:

START: Stuttering Treatment and Research Trust

Pamela Snow

Associate Professor Pamela Snow in Australia is one of the leading international researchers in the area of language difficulties and young offending and has written a recent article here:

The Thirty Million Words Initiative

This American website provides advice and support for families with young children to help build oral language skills


NZ information about producing Easy Read documentation is available here:

People First NZ produce fantastic resources and guides to producing Easy Read documentation:

Examples of  Easy Read documentation in legal contexts from the UK are here:

COMET/Talking Matters project

Auckland initiative involving many community partners to foster oral language in preschoolers

Blacksheep Press

Wide range of oral language resource packs that can be downloaded

Barry Prizant

Please read Barry’s book, Uniquely Human which is about autism and so much more. He is talking about his approach in this video and the professional development he presented recently in Auckland was fantastic.

Elaine Meyer

Elaine recently presented in Auckland with Barry Prizant about working with families and their content was inspiring and so practical. You can get a taste of Elaine’s approach on this video, ‘On being present, not perfect’:


Impact of Trauma on children

There are many excellent sources of information about how experiences of abuse, trauma, family violence and negative experiences can affect children’s development (including speech, language and communication development), but some that we particularly like are listed below:

Life Story Work

  • Richard Rose’s ‘Serve and Return’  – a short video showing his beautiful explanation of how attachment develops between children and parent and how this process can be disrupted. Richard deliver Life Story Work and has authored some very useful books on this and delivers training which is superb for anyone wanting to assist children to understand their own lives and have a way of talking about what has happened to them. Great ideas for developing emotional literacy too.

Harvard Centre on the Developing Child

Put aside a few hours to explore this amazing resource. Sign up for their newsletters.

Circle of Security

Another treasure trove of resources about attachment and parenting.  I particularly like their animations that are useful for professionals and families.

Dan Hughes

Dan’s work has developed Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy: Attachment Focused Treatment for Childhood Trauma & Abuse and his website provides useful resources for those working in this area:

Dave Ziegler

Jasper Mountain is the place that Dave and others have created where they pioneer approaches that work for children who have tried just about everything else. A wealth of publications, books and training have resulted.

How to structure your pepeha

Life My Skills guidelines

Practical resources for people to work through to develop skills like assertive communication skills or better strategies to deal with anger etc

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