What is Intensive Interaction?
Imagine a loving parent with their young baby. The baby coos, the parent coos back. They babble to each other. They’re lost in their own world of the beginnings of communication, intent on each other.
Some of the people who draw on our support have little or no verbal communication.
Especially at our school and children’s homes, staff work closely with children and young people, using that instinctive technique of Intensive Interaction. If a child smiles, the staff member will mirror that smile back to them. Perhaps the young person nods or shakes their head, or makes a sound. Whatever the communication, we will mirror back. We engage on the person’s own terms. It makes them feel seen, acknowledged and understood.
We’ve seen some amazing results, with people growing in confidence every day.
Dave Hewett, OBE, is one of the co-founders of the Intensive Interaction approach. He is Honorary Life President of the Intensive Interaction Institute and he has this to say:
Intensive Interaction is an approach designed to help people at early levels of development, people who have autism, people who have severe, profound or complex learning difficulties. Intensive Interaction works on early interaction abilities – how to enjoy being with other people – to relate, interact, know, understand and practice communication routines.
At MacIntyre, we teach staff to gain the Competent Practitioner in Intensive Interaction certification.
To attain this, staff submit a film and reflect on their practice. Our mentors watch the film in detail and complete a feedback sheet. The staff member takes on board what we discuss during the feedback session then submits another film. We repeat the process until they have reached the standard of competency. This can be in as little as three films or a few more if necessary.
Competency must be renewed every year. Many of our amazing staff are on their fifth and sixth years of Competent Practitioner renewal.
The Intensive Interaction approach is just one of the ways MacIntyre helps the people we support to develop and grow.