It was the start of a new week, in the role I love as a Community Learning Facilitator, within No Limits. I decided to try out and put into practice what I had learnt in my Intensive Interaction training the week before…
I work with a young man called William. He is diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum and can struggle to engage in activities with staff and often disengages fairly quickly. He finds sustaining interactions difficult. His favourite things to do are to listen to music from his phone or IPad and to go on his inside swing in his activity room at home.
We (Kryz and I) were supporting him from his home for the first hour of his No Limits day as per his timetable and whilst he was on his inside swing I sat on the floor and rocked myself backwards and forwards. Whenever William made some sounds I copied them.
My colleague Kryz (second CLF) lay on the bean bag pushing the swing and I lay down, too, looking up at the swing smiling at him and copying the sounds he made. William seemed to enjoy this; I then sat by the side of the swing moving myself backwards and forwards. This interaction between the three of us was making William smile and he liked this a great deal.
We then went to the garden and took the lead from William: we copied him and took our shoes and socks off and joined in William’s experience. We could both feel the different sensations he was feeling on his feet.
The grass was soft and warm on our feet. The paving stones were just starting to warm up from the sun and was much harder on our feet. We then went on the decking which felt knobbly. When William went from the garden into the kitchen he wiped his feet four times on the outside mat. I did the same. This had a scratchy sensation – I think it felt quite nice but also tingled my teeth and spine a bit!
The session lasted just under an hour and it was extremely successful. I felt we had made a great connection with William and this had made him feel really happy.
Following this Kryz and I reflected on the morning session of Intensive Interaction and came up with the idea of taking different materials like carpet tiles, core matting, off cuts of carpet and astro turf, and incorporating these as options into his weekly craft and cooking sessions.
Community Learning Facilitator. MacIntyre No Limits Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire