John Jamieson School

John Jamieson is an open and welcoming, generic, all age Special School and National Teaching School which caters for pupils with a learning difficulty

News Archive

International Intensive Interaction week 10-16th October 2016: Day 514 Oct 2016International Intensive Interaction week 10-16th October 2016: Day 5Day 5: Flash mob update and 'Top tips' for intensive interaction:

Yesterday our intensive interaction flash mob was a great success. We had 19 students in attendance with their staff 'communication partners'. There was singing, clapping, dancing and more. We were able to share the event with some of our non-teaching staff and school visitors to spread the word about intensive interaction. We will be sharing photos from the event at a later date, but here is what one of our students thought of our flash mob and we think it sums up how we were all feeling:
"I had a good time today"
Top tips for Intensive Interaction

The following tips were shared by the ‘Us in a bus’ charity, which offers opportunities for individuals with profound learning disabilities and complex needs, in a previous Intensive Interaction newsletter:
  1. Hold the space…don’t rush to fill gaps. The spaces are where the important and exciting stuff happens for your partner (assimilation, recognition, confirmation, sense of control), so stay observant and wait.
  2. Embrace repetition…your partner will let you know when they are ready to move on to something new. This process needs to stay at your partner’s pace, not yours, so repeat your confirmation of their behaviour in clear and recognizable ways and watch for their signals of readiness for change (rather than yours!).
  3. Stop when you’re told to…keep all your senses open to the ‘STOP’ signs. Your partner needs to be in control for Intensive interaction to be useful, and they need to be in the mood for it. But don’t mistake ‘stop’ as their final answer; be prepared to offer the opportunity again, carefully considering the mood, time, space etc.
  4. Am I on purpose…keep checking the purpose behind your actions. You are exploring mutual engagement; if you find that you have slipped into entertainment or that you are wanting to get a particular ‘result’, then stop, get back on-purpose- and tune into your partner again.
  5. Be more than a mirror…keep thinking ‘are there other ways to celebrate aspects of my partner’s inner language? How else can I offer confirmation?’ You can introduce the cognitive challenge of copying a rocking rhythm through touch or sound. Maybe you can play with the size or sound levels of your response. The only limit is your imagination, flexibility and your willingness to give it a go.

We would like to share this quote, from Nelson Mandela, which reflects the power of using intensive interaction:
“When you speak to a man in a language he understands, this goes to his head. When you speak to him in his language that goes to his heart”
We hope you have enjoyed these daily posts and look forward to sharing more about intensive interaction work with you in the future. If you would like to receive the intensive interaction newsletter please contact Graham Firth at or Jules McKim at
For more information please speak to your Speech and Language therapist, look at our Intensive interaction section on the website or visit

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