At MacIntyre we believe that everyone has the potential to learn and we know that the people we support communicate in many different ways. One approach that we use is Intensive Interaction.
To mark Intensive Interaction Week 2021, we are sharing a poem The Pandemic Won’t Stop Us written by Kate, a member of staff at MacIntyre School.
But I was off to work as usual, the very next morning
We had to wear all sorts of PPE, including a mask
How would that work with Intensive Interaction? I wanted to ask
I thought to myself, how on earth can we do this?
I am the mentor here, the available look we can’t miss!
Eyes can still open wide, but what about a smile?
Well let’s add a little more, and go the extra mile!
A lift of the shoulders, maybe a shrug here and there
A smile in the eyes, that will show how we care
Build the anticipation, add an element of surprise
An intake of breath, and some exaggerated sighs
Open our body, be as available as we can be
There is lots we can do to tune in, just you and me
The pandemic won’t stop us, we must continue through
We will still use this approach which is so important to you
Intensive Interaction Mentor
Intensive Interaction is an approach to interacting with and teaching early communication and interaction skills to people who do not find it easy communicating or being social. It aims to teach the basic ‘Fundamentals of Communication’ such as turn-taking, sharing personal space, using and understanding eye contact, facial expressions and physical contact, as well as helping develop the person's social ability, cognitive abilities and emotional wellbeing.
Becoming a ‘Competent Practitioner’ in Intensive Interaction in MacIntyre requires staff to develop their skills in teaching the fundamentals of communication where the children, young people and adults involved are engaged and naturally practising their skills. This is achieved through a variety of tutoring methods and evaluations.
The pandemic didn’t stop MacIntyre staff from learning about Intensive Interaction.
MacIntyre pride ourselves on the fact our staff support the person with a learning disability to develop competence and confidence as a communicator. The pandemic has been a challenge for all but our training teams ensured tutoring continued and were able to train up our staff to become ‘Competent Practitioners’ in Intensive Interaction. Adapting from face to face training our highly skilled staff developed a programme of 12 training modules combining both films and mentoring sessions. This drive and flexibility has allowed MacIntyre to continue to use best practice with the people we support throughout the pandemic.