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Recordable Talking Panel by Andrew Whitehouse

Andrew Whitehouse shares his ideas and inspiration about different ways to use the Recordable Talking Panel. As he says, "the possibilities are endless".

Posted on Tuesday 28th March 2023

Every now and then I come across a resource which absolutely screams multi use at me. The TTS Recordable Talking Panel is just one of those resources.

Ironically, it has been around for years, I just had not spotted it! It is such a simple concept. Six little panels in a row on a board, each of which can have a small picture inserted, and a short voice recording programmed into them which can be replayed by tapping the panel. The board itself can be vertical or horizontal and can be affixed to a wall or held loose.

Recordable Talking Panel Pictures

The pictures can be anything you want to use:

  • Images from the internet
  • Symbols
  • Simple drawings
  • Photographs from home or school

And of course, the colours of the cards can be adapted to meet the needs of Dyslexic children.

Ways to use the Recordable Talking Panel

Visual timetable

When I saw this, my first thoughts were “Wow! An electronic visual timetable!” But one with multiple extra advantages, such as:

  • Blind or visually impaired children. A visual timetable is just that, visual. However, by simply tapping the individual panels, you can hear what task is coming up next, such as painting, registration, lunch, etc.
  • Horizontal or vertical? The fact that this board can be vertical or horizontal is a massive advantage. I will let you into a little secret… visual timetables are better vertical. This is for two major reasons:
    • Many neurodivergent children have limited peripheral vision, so top to bottom can be far more effective.
    • Multi-cultural considerations – not every culture reads from left to right, for example Hebrew and Arabic are written right to left. Therefore, a vertical board is far more effective.
  • Adaptability of images. The choice is yours! Some children will be used to signs and symbols such as widget etc. others may need something more explicit such as a photo of the class painting, or a photo of that individual child.

Separation anxiety

A little bit of a different idea here. I have been working with a Reception child who gets very sad during the day and misses his mother. The Recordable Talking Panel proved to be an invaluable tool for this situation. Very simply, we used pictures of his mum, each one containing a message, such as:

  • “I hope you are having a lovely lunch Theo” (name changed)
  • “I’m off to the shops Theo, I will buy you some fruit” – this one is particularly effective as many children worry about what is going on at home when they are not there.
  • “Time to feed Kitty”

This fosters strong links between home and school. Every day, Theo’s mum would record new messages onto the Recordable Talking Panel and bring it into school, and Theo could hear her voice whenever he needed to.


A nice and simple idea here. Simply write the phonics sound on the card and record it into the panel. The child can then read it out, tap the panel and check if they are accurate. This creates a strong kinaesthetic and tactile connection with sounds and words.

High Frequency Words and matching words

Simply have cards with the High Frequency Word on one side, and an image representing the word on the other side. Have the card with the word facing upwards, ask the child to read the word, and then check the answer by tapping and listening to the word. You can then take out the card, turn it over, and double check by looking at the image. Thus, making it a visual, auditory, and tactile activity.

What to take home at the end of the day

By putting pictures and words into each panel, we can check we have everything at the end of the day. For example:

  • Coat image, tap the panel, hear the word, check we have coat
  • Lunch box image, tap the panel, hear the word , check we have lunchbox
  • Scarf, image, tap the panel, hear the word , check we have lunchbox

This of course has the potential for six items.

So as you can see, this really is a resource with incredible potential. However, I think that the closing comments should go to my wife…  I asked Mrs Whitehouse (a teacher of SEND) to read this through prior to me sending it and she said “oh I use mine for emotions and facial expressions”.

It seems the possibilities are endless!

With thanks to Andrew Whitehouse for sharing his ideas and inspiration.

TEDx Speaker and Bamford Lecturer, Andrew Whitehouse is a specialist in neurological diversity and provides interventions for professionals, parents and young people with Autism, ADHD, PDA, Dyslexia and related conditions as well as behavioural interventions. Andrew has a number of roles including training, strategies and therapies for education professionals in early years settings, schools, colleges and universities, observing learners in the learning environment and providing practical solutions to help them achieve their potential.  Andrew has an extensive conference profile and has just published his acclaimed first book available on Amazon.

Andrew Whitehouse