What is Intensive interaction?
Intensive interaction is a therapy technique designed by David Hewitt to support individuals at the earliest levels of development. It’s primarily aimed at people with autism as well as those with severe or complex learning disabilities.
Intensive interaction encourages individuals to interact and communicate. At a basic level it supports social interaction, encourages individuals to enjoy the company of others, teaches how to take turns and how to communicate through words as well as movements. It encourages the good behaviour and allows the therapy leader a method of passively but clearly deflecting the less desirable behaviours.
Intensive interaction develops the fundamentals of all forms of communication – body language, using and understanding eye contact, facial expressions and gestures, speech and making sounds, taking it in turns in conversation.
The therapy itself is often initiated by the student with the therapy leader (bit of a misnomer) following social cues throughout. It’s a really relaxed experience for all involved and has seen some wonderful results in children and adults, like Jude, who struggle with communication and social situations. Each session is repetitive but slowly elongated in duration and complexity so that the rules of communicating become more natural and fluid as different scenarios and experiences are rehearsed.
Intensive Interaction professionals
Last week, I went up to Jude’s school as one of the teachers offered to show a few videos of Jude participating in intensive interaction therapy. I was absolutely thrilled to see Jude so engaged throughout each one. His huge beaming smile, actions clear and Jude obviously loving being in charge. It’s amazing to see Jude really get into it with many examples of him making gorgeous eye contact with his teachers.
For a child like Jude who has a rather enhanced love of echolalia (copying everything!) it’s literally his dream therapy. Quite echolaic (is that even a word) in manner, intensive interaction is showing to be a winner with Jude and I’m so so pleased his school are encouraging it as part of his weekly schedule.
Jude’s school is the only school in this area that has been officially signed off by the Institute of Intensive Interaction. This means that they have been able to merge Intensive Interaction formally into their teaching schedules. Formally but naturally in presentation meaning the interactions are genuine, bonding and productive.
I’d love to share some of the videos of Jude with you however, I don’t have ownership of them. BUT just as useful, there are some fantastic videos here on the official Intensive interaction website.
I just wanted to share this therapy with you as it isn’t something I had heard of until recently. And only then because of Jude’s school. They’re doing such wonderful work to encourage Jude’s confidence, self-awareness, communication and all round awesomeness and this is certainly a wonderful tool to employ.
I’d love to speak to a few people who are qualified in Intensive Interaction to gauge their thoughts on the therapy. My understanding is particularly rudimentary and only viewing from a parents perspective. It would be great to hear a professionals thoughts. Watch this space…
Does your child’s school incorporate Intensive Interaction into the weekly calendar? I’d love to hear what you think.