by Jackie Hardy, Waking Nights Support Worker
Although I’ve supported children and young people with a learning disability for 23 years, this is the first time I've done this particular training, and it had a strong impact on me.
Clear and compassionate training
The training was delivered with real compassion. Every part was explained slowly and clearly. Questions could be asked every step of the way. Our time together was interactive and Kate encouraged as much feedback from staff as possible. This was a great way of us opening up and sharing our stories of when we have used Intensive Interaction. Kate was able to help us by explaining clearly the principles behind it.
When staff asked questions, Kate replied using examples of real life practice. Kate shared lots of stories of how she uses Intensive Interaction and also stories and observations of other staff. Kate was able to answer everything and was eager to listen to our own stories of where we believed we had been using Intensive Interaction, often instinctively without realising.
Helping support young people better
Several staff on the course were new, and I felt the training helped them to understand that by using this technique, they can and will help them support the young people even better.
Night-time can be scary for young people
I am a Waking Night Support Worker, which means I help young people get ready for bed, and am there for them during the night if they are wakeful.
A lot of the young people I support are non-verbal, and night-time can be a scary, lonely time for them when they are awake. It's my job to take some of that fear away.
The training helped me recognise that unknowingly I have always used Intensive Interaction. But understanding the importance of it now, and the principles behind it, I'm filled with excitement when I see it working and improving my ability to reassure and calm young people.
Building trusting bonds
Intensive Interaction has helped build trusting bonds between the young people and myself. Learning the importance of eye contact, facial expressions, and turn-taking all build into a more positive outcome in communication between us.
The training was very relaxed, there was a lovely friendly warm atmosphere. Since then, I’ve seen other members of staff using Intensive Interaction a lot more around the children's home. I was sad when the training came to an end as Kate is so skilled and offered so much to all staff, old and new.