On Thursdays I work at the Hesley Village, a residential village for adults with severe and complex learning disabilities mainly arising from autism. My remit is to work with the adults who are most difficult to reach and who tend not to access the other on-site activities. Each week I engage with about 8 adults in one-to-one sessions based around music-making, singing familiar songs and Intensive Interaction approaches. In the morning I lead a successful group music making and singing session along with the dance tutor Hilary Needham who engages some of the adults in movement.
Many of the people living at the Hesley establishments have severe autism and are often pre-verbal. Intensive Interaction is an effective approach for developing communication with people with severe learning disabilities and is an approach that I have used consistently since 2006. I began weekly work at the Hesley Group in 2009 and have since had the opportunity to explore many Intensive Interaction approaches (and experience many wonderful interaction) with the people that live there. My aim now is develop a language for Intensive Interaction to communicate this experience to other practitioners and to disseminate a model of good practice that can be of benefit to other professionals and parents. This is already beginning at Woolley Wood school where a major part of my role is to mentor staff on one-to-one Intensive Inteaction approaches to communication and language development.