Consultant in Creative Communication and Social Learning

I have worked with people with special needs and communication disabilities since 2001 as, initially as a community artist and musician and, since 2005 as an creative communication and intensive interaction practitioner and consultant.  Over this time I have worked in schools, hospitals, residential care settings and day care services and have delivered person centred music and communication sessions (in groups and one-to-one) to people with many different needs including autism, severe and profound learning disabilities, acute mental health problems, dementia and brain injuries.  I have also worked internationally having visited Romania, Greece and Turkey to collaborate with care settings and deliver conference presentations.

My current work is concerned mainly with developing communities of practice within autism and learning disability care settings to effect a genuine change in staff practice around responsive communication and intensive interaction.  I have been trained in communities of practice and social learning by the originator of the theory Etienne Wenger-Trayner  and his wife Bev Wenger-Trayner.  I have successfully devised and delivered programmes of mentoring and training to all levels of the hierarchy including support workers, teachers, teaching assistants, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, doctors and consultants.


As well and regularly blogging about my work in Intensive Interaction and responsive communication, I have worked to develop the approach of Musical Interaction – a transferable approach to music provision which has Intensive Interaction as the underpinning theory.  I now offer a unique training for teachers and support workers which I am currently delivering at Woolley Wood School in Sheffield.

Lastly (but certainly not least) I am also an experienced practitioner and teacher of chinese health and martial art skills.  I have studied qigong, tai chi, wing chun and shaolin kung fu for over 15 years and have been teaching two evening classes since 2007.  I have students that have studied with me weekly for over 7 years and this experience certainly carries over to my mentoring in care settings.  I have found that the study of mindfulness and meditation has also offered a profound perspective upon interaction work with people with autism, dementia and learning disabilities where much of the work is about being in the moment and seeing things as they actually are without our habitual judgements getting in the way.

Another lovely piece of writing, an important concept beautifully explained. Well done

Jill Goodwin


Thank you Matt, I have found your writings very interesting and thoughtful. I have been sharing them with my II colleagues so thank you for sharing them with us.

Louise Barker

Speech and Language Therapist

What a great post Matthew. I really like the analogy of allowing the butterfly to emerge. It works on so many levels. What is at the forefront of my mind is how beautiful it is when someone reaches out to you for the first time & knowing that you have created the context for that unfolding.

Ruth Jung

I really enjoy your blogs -lots of food for thought, thank you

Rachel Woodhouse

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