Intensive interaction is an approach to teaching the pre-speech fundamentals of communication to children and adults who have severe learning difficulties and/or autism and who are still at an early stage of communication development. It is highly practical and the only equipment needed is a sensitive person to be the interaction partner. The approach works by progressively developing enjoyable and relaxed interaction sequences between the interaction partner and the person doing the learning. These interaction sequences are repeated frequently and gradually grow in duration, complexity and sophistication. As this happens, the fundamentals of communication are gradually rehearsed and learnt in a free-flowing manner. The style of the teacher person is relaxed, non-directive and responsive. We follow the learners’ lead by responding to and joining-in with their behaviours. This simple principle is the one used by adults in interaction with babies during the first year. The first year is the period of development when a baby carries out intense and very rapid learning of the fundamentals of communication. Much of the development of Intensive interaction was based on reading of the scientific research on the way in which human beings learn to communicate during the first year.
The teaching sessions are therefore frequent, quite intense, but also fun-filled, playful and enjoyable. Both participants should be at ease with enjoyment of the activity as the main motivation. A session could be highly dynamic, with a great deal of vocalisation, sometimes with fun-filled physical contacts. A session could also be peaceful, slow and quiet
For more information please speak to your Speech and Language therapist, look at our Intensive interaction section on the website or visit www.intensiveinteraction.co.uk
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