The Development of Fundamental Social and
All children with Autism are severely disabled by their inability to effectively relate to other people. The need to develop social and communicative competence must therefore be a priority. Without this it is difficult to proceed to the learning of anything else or meaningfully access the curriculum.
Children can be enabled to do this through the use of Intensive Interaction.
Intensive Interaction is an approach for teaching communication abilities to children who have autism, and learning difficulties and who are still at the early stages of Social and Communication development. The approach focuses on teaching the Fundamentals of Communication – the communication skills that precede and are necessary for speech development. This approach is also important for our more able children too, who have may have seemingly good speech and language development but do not have the desire to communicate or interact with people.
The aims of Intensive Interaction are to develop The Fundamentals of Communication:
- enjoying being with another person
- developing the ability to attend to that person
- concentration and attention span
- learning to do sequences of activity with the other person
- taking turns in exchanges of behaviour
- sharing personal space
- using and understanding eye contacts
- using and understanding facial expressions
- using and understanding physical contacts
- using and understanding non-verbal communication
- using vocalisations with meaning and for some :speech development
- learning to regulate and control arousal levels
For progress to occur Intensive Interaction should happen frequently throughout the day and with significant repetition. We therefore do not timetable intensive interaction but allow it to happen in every lesson and at every opportunity. All adults are trained to be responsive and reflective.
The children’s achievement is demonstrated and evidenced by the frequency with which they initiate interaction, the enjoyment and pleasure they display and ultimately in their interactions with their mainstream peers.
Given effective Social and Communication development many of our children are then equipped to access the curriculum and to access learning in an inclusive setting.