What do I think of when I hear the words Intensive Interaction?

Well, what I think is – come to MacIntyre and I will SHOW you Intensive Interaction! I could take you on a tour of our school and you will see Intensive Interaction happening everywhere and I mean everywhere. These wonderful in the moment, in the here and now interactions show such connection and enjoyment between two people.  

We are supporting a person who has a communication difficulty to make sense of their life, feel valued and to have feelings of worth. These interactions are not ‘scheduled’, ‘timetabled’ or ‘included in the plan’ – they just happen in a natural, uncomplicated and in the moment way. Whether it is in a lesson, on a school vehicle, in the supermarket queue, whilst getting dressed for school, over lunch time – wherever and whatever the day holds I know for sure Intensive Interaction will be a part of it without it being planned.  

I have seen some very special moments, not because I was looking for them but because I was just there. I captured a most wonderful video through the therapy office window of a student and a member of staff using the outdoor play equipment. Robert, a student, took his shoe off and put his foot under the water feature, he then took his sock off, leapt into the air with his arms up high and threw his sock with a triumphant shriek. Of course Courtney, staff, did the same, Robert absolutely loved this – the response he received was fun, interesting and playful but most importantly it was acknowledgement of him as a person. Courtney took notice and tuned into him, she was available and focused on him and nothing else.

These beautiful interactions are common place but still take my breath away, that wonderful moment when two people acknowledge, connect and communicate with each other. I take my iPad around with me and capture some of these moments, staff then put that towards their evidence for their Competent Practitioner awards. In 2017 we had a target of 12 Competent Practitioners which we achieved; actually exceeded and we reached 13. In 2018 our target was a challenging 30; we achieved it two weeks before Christmas! I am so incredibly proud and my heart is warmed by what we support our students to achieve. Being able to communicate in a way which makes sense gives so many opportunities for such valuable learning which can take a person through life in a positive and meaningful way.

So what is MacIntyre School’s target for Competent Practitioners in 2019? - 75! Will we do it? Too right we will!

Kate Webb

Intensive Interaction Mentor, MacIntyre School