Sometimes when we reflect on the journey of a learner at MacIntyre No Limits we can identify pivotal moments during the programme where everything starts to make sense for the learner and as a result our staff are able to take all aspects of learning to a higher and more meaningful level.
Israr has just finished a three year programme with our No Limits service in Milton Keynes and as he embarks on a new journey which will still involve MacIntyre day services at Support Plus, it is important for us to look at how Israr became the confident communicator and sociable young man that we see today.
When Israr joined No Limits he was a shy young man who would accept the support of some staff but would shy away from others to the point where he could become anxious in unfamiliar environments and find himself removed from situations in order to ensure that he remained settled. This was a regular occurrence and many staff were unsure about how best to support him. Of course, Israr had his favourite staff to work with and he did have positive interactions but with regards to his expressive communication it seemed there was always more to be explored and discovered. Israr would high five his favourite staff and would smile or nod his approval if he liked something but how could this be taken to the next level?
It was the time to introduce ‘Intensive Interaction’.
Mike who was one of Israr’s regular staff attended MacIntyre’s Intensive Interaction training and worked with Israr to see if this new approach would be something that Israr could engage in. The answer was a resounding ‘Yes!’ Perhaps for the first time, Israr was in control. At first Mike and Israr were both learning about how to use this new form of communication but as the opportunities became more frequent, Israr’s repertoire became more extensive until he started incorporating new facial expressions, new sounds and a wide variety of gestures which not only gave Israr a platform for his expressive communication but also gave staff more of an insight into Israr’s world.
In a very short space of time, a learner who had previously been happy to be on the periphery of group activities became a confident contributor to sessions and the relationship between Israr, his staff and his peers went from strength to strength. This new found confidence has seen Israr develop the ability to make his choices known, it has given him the ability to make friends with peers and it has made a huge contribution to his wellbeing by reducing Israr’s anxieties.
Now that Israr has moved on I feel confident that he has the skills and resilience to cope with the changes that lie ahead of him and I look forward to seeing him soon in his new environment. And of course with the continued use of Intensive Interactions who knows how many new friends Israr will make or what he will achieve in the future?
Programme Manager, MacIntyre No Limits, Milton Keynes