3C’s of Rapport-based Communication

The 3C’s and the Three Ingredients 

The purpose of the 3C’s is to provide practitioners with a clear practice for creating rapport that is based on Rosenthal’s three ingredients. By knowing the three ingredients and the 3C’s we can intentionally work for better rapport and offer more experiences of connection, communication and empathy to people who are at risk of social isolation.

The first C is to look for OFFERS. In the context of inclusive interaction, an OFFER is now anything that a person does unprompted that has the potential to be reciprocated by the practitioner through joining in or copying or reflecting. Looking for OFFERS requires mindful attention, the first ingredient of rapport.

The second C is to copy the OFFERS. The practitioner now joins in with the person, reciprocating their actions and behaviour. When copying the persons actions, the practitioner and the person are in synchrony, the second ingredient of rapport.  When the practitioner copies a person’s actions they are making an affirmation, non-verbally saying “Yes, this is a good thing to do”.

The third C is to celebrate the OFFERS. The practitioner makes sure to join in and reciprocate warmly, responding like there is nothing that they would rather be doing, like the person has had the best idea ever. By reacting with pleasure to the person’s actions and behaviour, the person is also like to feel happy and this results in a shared positive feeling, the third ingredient of rapport.

Interestingly, in their 1990 paper, Rosenthal and Tickle-Degnan also study the effect of various non-verbal behaviours upon rapport, concluding that postural mirroring is the most effective strategy in interactions in which one person is helping the other (eg teacher/student, nurse/patient).

The essence of this practice therefore is to create rapport and develop relationship by warmly joining in with what the person is doing with 100% of your attention.

References

Tickle-Degnen, L. and Rosenthal, R. (1990). The Nature of Rapport and Its Nonverbal Correlates. Psychological Inquiry, 1(4), pp.285-293.

Rapport-based Communication – Defining rapport

In the approach of “rapport-based communication”, the concept of rapport is defined through the work of Robert Rosenthal, Linda Tickle-Degnan and Daniel Goleman.

Rapport exists only between people; we recognise it whenever a connection feels pleasant, engaged and smooth (Goleman, 2006).

In their 1990 paper, “The Nature of Rapport and Its Non-verbal Correlates”, Rosenthal and Tickle-Degnan explain that “individuals experience rapport as the result of a combination of qualities that emerge from each individual in interaction”. They suggest that there are three such qualities that are central to the tangible, mutual experience of rapport, qualities that Daniel Goleman describes as necessary ‘ingredients’ in his book Social Intelligence (2006). These three qualities are:

Mutual attentiveness

When people are experiencing rapport, the social attention of each person is directed toward the other person/people – they are ‘other-involved’. This is experienced by the other person as intense mutual interest in what the other is saying or doing. (Rosenthal, Tickle-Degnan 1990).

Mutual positivity

Interactants experiencing rapport with one another feel mutual friendliness and caring (Rosenthal, Tickle-Degnan 1990). Rapport feels good, a sense of friendliness where each person experiences each other’s warmth (Goleman 2006).

Co-ordination

A high degree of behavioural co-ordination or non-verbal synchrony described by Goleman (2006) as “a spontaneous and immediate responsiveness that has the look of a closely choreographed dance, as though the call and response of the interaction had been purposefully planned – their eyes meet, bodies get close, pulling chairs near”. Parks and Burgess (1924) describe this ingredient when they state that “rapport implies the existence of a mutual responsiveness, such that every member of the group reacts immediately, spontaneously, and sympathetically to the sentiments and attitudes of every other member” (p. 893).

This research underpins the practice of rapport-based communication. The purpose of the approach is to find rapport and the definition of the three ingredients offers practitioners both a clear definition of the experience and also of the qualities to embody in order to find it.

A post a day for II week – Monday – Woolley Wood School

Every Monday I visit Woolley Wood School in Parsons Cross, Sheffield.  I have worked at the school for one day per week since 2013 and, according to our evaluation of the community of practice, the Intensive Interaction provision and skill base has steadily developed over this time.  This year I have finally put a strategy into place that has been something that I have wanted to initiate for at least two years now and I thought I would share how this is going so far.
Each class now has a teaching assistant appointed as the Intensive Interaction Lead.  The person was chosen for their enthusiasm for the practice as shown over the last three years I have been working in the school developing II. Their role is three-fold:

  • To motivate the staff team to do Intensive Interaction and to learn more about the practice
  • To lead reflective practice meetings with the staff team
  • To be responsible for the intensive interaction recording – initiating the baselines and keeping the records up to date

The support that I give to help the lead person to achieve these objectives is to offer:

  • Easy to pass on principles of the practice (Three C’s of Intensive Interaction and RECAPS, 6 observable qualities of intensive interaction).  More about these in a future post.
  • Twice half-termly reflective practice meetings with the nine class leads to model how to facilitate such a meeting in the classroom after school.
  • Training on the 7 levels of intensive interaction and how to take baselines and record.
  • In class support to the lead person to model practice, answer questions and support recording.

Even though we are only half way through the first half-term, this strategy is already proving to be a big step forward for my role as consultant because I now have a group of staff to liaise with, each of whom is responsible for the practice in their class.  As you can imagine, this is much more practical that one person attempting to facilitate the practice in nine classes with only one day per week to do it.  I’ll write more about this strategy as the year progresses.
I will attempt to write a post a day for Intensive Interaction Week, each post referring to the context I work in on that day.  Tomorrow will be the Hesley Group service Wilsic Hall School in Wadworth, Doncaster.
 

Training Opportunities

In Spring 2017 I will be offering 3 courses on Musical Interaction and Intensive Interaction
15th March 2017 9.30 – 3.30pm Musical Interaction Training
This full day training will help participants to develop a person centred responsive approach to music-making and communication.  No musical experience necessary.  See attached flyer for more details. £95 per place if booked before 31st Jan 2017
PDF Flyer – Musical Interaction Training 15th March 2017
15th May 2017 9.45am – 12pm – Intensive Interaction Essentials
Half day session covering the core concepts underpinning Intensive Interaction and Responsive Communication.  £55
15th May 2017 12.30pm – 2.30pm – Recording Intensive Interaction
Half day session covering practical methods for recording Intensive Interaction in different settings.  These methods were approved by OFSTED in Woolley Wood’s most recent inspection. £55
Book on both Intensive Interaction sessions on 15th May for a reduced fee of £95
Places on all courses can be booked by calling 07896 977388.
Kind regards

Currently I am working at four care settings near Doncaster run by the Hesley Group. Two of the services are secondary schools, one is a college for 18-25 year olds and the other is for adults. All four settings are residential services for people living with autism (sometimes in combination with a severe learning disability) and the support workers find many of the service users challenging to care for.
My favourite job title for what I do on these four days is “Social Learning Mentor”. Why? Because this describes the three main aims of my work:
To improve the quality of life of the service users by helping them to learn fundamental social skills.
To help the staff learn how to bridge the communication gap and develop deeper relationships with the person they support.
To facilitate the development of a community of practice (social learning) centred around 1 and 2.
I know how to achieve my first objective because there is a very effective method… Intensive Interaction. As Dave Hewett recently said on a video “We should be using an intervention that focuses dynamically and socially on the major aspects of the impairment which is social communication”. This is exactly what intensive interaction does and the efficacy of the approach is evidenced, not only by the major textbooks on the approach, but in the way that practitioners light up when they describe the benefits of their work. Practitioners really seem to love this way of working. I’ll come back to this in a minute.
Dave Hewett continues to say that we should use this approach a lot with the supported person. This I know to be true because, not only have I seen Dave’s videos and other case studies, I have also seen first hand the profound impact sustained intensive interaction can have upon a persons quality of life. However, because I only work one day a week in each Hesley setting, I can’t apply this sustained approach on my own.
This brings me my second aim, and the my main theme for this post, to train the staff in intensive interaction so that they can help the service user too. Well, this was my original aim but over sustained periods of mentoring and training support workers, I found that this purpose, to do intensive interaction to teach communication skills, didn’t create enough passion for all of the staff to take it up. In a recent conversation, Graham Firth (II Project Leader in Leeds) confirmed my theory as to why this is true. While he and Dave Hewett are used to training people, parents and staff who have already decided to learn Intensive Interaction and attend one of the courses that the Intensive interaction Institute offer, my work often involves training and inspiring staff who have not chosen to be trained. This makes a big difference. While a training day offering intensive interaction to the wider public as an approach to deal with a challenge of teaching communication skills can attract attendees who share and have been inspired by this common purpose, I have to find a common challenge that unites the closed population of staff in the places that I work. Teaching communication skills will inspire some staff for sure but for a true community of practice to flourish I ended up looking for something more universal.
Supporting the people that live in the Hesley Group care setting can be very challenging and consequently the job can be quite stressful. Acknowledging this was an important step in connecting with the staff (rather than giving them something else they had to do on top of their workload) and I started to look at what the benefits are for the practitioner rather than placing the emphasis on the service user. I already mentioned that practitioners ‘light up’ when they describe their Intensive Interaction practice and so I wondered if I could offer the approach as something that could find this joy in an otherwise difficult job.
I describe this feeling as “this is why I came to work” and I started to ask staff what makes a moment like this for them. The answers seem to fall into two camps, either the fruit of the staffs hard labours (like teaching someone to use a spoon for a year and finally seeing the person achieve this) or making a connection with the person they support, stepping into their world, seeing them happy, making them smile.
So, I started to offer Intensive Interaction to support workers as an approach to find these moments of “this is why I came to work”. I asked staff what happens to the stress of the day when you find a moment like this. The universal answer is that the stress disappears and you can go home “buzzing… feeling really warm knowing that I done a really good job”. All it takes is seconds of meaningful connection, play, co-created dialogue, smiles, recognition or new permission and a stressful negative day can become a positive one.
While one of these moments is enough for a difficult day to turn positive (and this fact alone should be enough for anyone to give it a go), it is through the repetition of these moments that trust and relationship with the people we support are forged. With a deeper relationship the care work can become more straightforward and much more satisfying and we can take pride from knowing that we are helping a person to be less isolated and to experience the joy of human interaction.

This is why I come to work! (or Intensive Interaction and staff engagement)

Currently I am working at four care settings near Doncaster run by the Hesley Group.  Two of the services are secondary schools, one is a college for 18-25 year olds and the other is for adults.  All four settings are residential services for people living with autism (sometimes in combination with a severe learning disability) and the support workers find many of the service users challenging to care for.
My favourite job title for what I do on these four days is “Social Learning Mentor”.  Why?  Because this describes the three main aims of my work:

  1. To improve the quality of life of the service users by helping them to learn fundamental social skills.
  2. To help the staff learn how to bridge the communication gap and develop deeper relationships with the person they support.
  3. To facilitate the development of a community of practice (social learning) centred around 1 and 2.

I know how to achieve my first objective because there is a very effective method… Intensive Interaction.  As Dave Hewett recently said on a video “We should be using an intervention that focuses dynamically and socially on the major aspects of the impairment which is social communication”. This is exactly what intensive interaction does and the efficacy of the approach is evidenced, not only by the major textbooks on the approach, but in the way that practitioners light up when they describe the benefits of their work.  Practitioners really seem to love this way of working.  I’ll come back to this in a minute.
Dave Hewett continues to say that we should use this approach a lot with the supported person.  This I know to be true because, not only have I seen Dave’s videos and other case studies, I have also seen first hand the profound impact sustained intensive interaction can have upon a persons quality of life. However, because I only work one day a week in each Hesley setting, I can’t apply this sustained approach on my own.
This brings me my second aim, and the my main theme for this post, to train the staff in intensive interaction so that they can help the service user too.  Well, this was my original aim but over sustained periods of mentoring and training support workers, I found that this purpose, to do intensive interaction to teach communication skills, didn’t create enough passion for all of the staff to take it up. In a recent conversation, Graham Firth (II Project Leader in Leeds) confirmed my theory as to why this is true.  While he and Dave Hewett are used to training people, parents and staff who have already decided to learn Intensive Interaction and attend one of the courses that the Intensive interaction Institute offer, my work often involves training and inspiring staff who have not chosen to be trained.  This makes a big difference.  While a training day offering intensive interaction to the wider public as an approach to deal with a challenge of teaching communication skills can attract attendees who share and have been inspired by this common purpose, I have to find a common challenge that unites the closed population of staff in the places that I work.  Teaching communication skills will inspire some staff for sure but for a true community of practice to flourish I ended up looking for something more universal.
Supporting the people that live in the Hesley Group care setting can be very challenging and consequently the job can be quite stressful.  Acknowledging this was an important step in connecting with the staff (rather than giving them something else they had to do on top of their workload) and I started to look at what the benefits are for the practitioner rather than placing the emphasis on the service user.  I already mentioned that practitioners ‘light up’ when they describe their Intensive Interaction practice and so I wondered if I could offer the approach as something that could find this joy in an otherwise difficult job.
I describe this feeling as “this is why I came to work” and I started to ask staff what makes a moment like this for them.  The answers seem to fall into two camps, either the fruit of the staffs hard labours (like teaching someone to use a spoon for a year and finally seeing the person achieve this) or making a connection with the person they support, stepping into their world, seeing them happy, making them smile.
So, I started to offer Intensive Interaction to support workers as an approach to find these moments of “this is why I came to work”.  I asked staff what happens to the stress of the day when you find a moment like this.  The universal answer is that the stress disappears and you can go home “buzzing… feeling really warm knowing that I done a really good job”.  All it takes is seconds of meaningful connection, play, co-created dialogue, smiles, recognition or new permission and a stressful negative day can become a positive one.
While one of these moments is enough for a difficult day to turn positive (and this fact alone should be enough for anyone to give it a go), it is through the repetition of these moments that trust and relationship with the people we support are forged.  With a deeper relationship the care work can become more straightforward and much more satisfying and we can take pride from knowing that we are helping a person to be less isolated and to experience the joy of human interaction.
 
 
 
 

Alone or Lonely? Does the person you support have the ability to choose?

There is a difference between being alone and being lonely.  I think that being ‘alone’ is when you are by yourself and content with the situation while ‘loneliness’ is the unhappiness that arises when a person is on their own but would rather have the company of others.
When supporting a person with a communication disability we must consider that a person, who is observed to be on their own, may or may not be content with the situation.  I have encountered many support workers who have told me that the person they support likes to be on their own, rocking in the corner of the room or sat quietly on the sofa.  “Maybe… maybe not” is my reply.  How do we know for certain if a person wants to be on their own if they lack the very skills that a typical person would use to initiate an interaction with other people?
One way I explain the situation to the staff that I mentor is like this.  The people we support sometimes want to be on their own and they can often communicate this need to us, often in an extreme way – pushing, shouting, nipping or other challenging behaviours.  Likewise, the people we support can sometimes communicate when they would like to be with us perhaps by hugging, holding, dancing.  But there is a grey area in between these two poles where perhaps the people we support would like to be with us but feel unable to start the interaction, feeling anxious, lacking confidence, feeling fearful.  In this situation the people we support would be lonely (and suffering from loneliness) rather than being content with being alone.
How do I as a practitioner know that this might be the case? Because when I use an approach like intensive interaction or responsive communication it is at these times that I might approach someone, when the person is on their own and not pushing people away or becoming obsessed with sensory stimulation.  And when I  approach people sensitively at these time what do I find?  I often find that, if I have offered myself in the way that the person I am supporting needs me to be, such a person might begin to enjoy my company and show pleasure in being with another human being, rather than pushing me away as might be the case if they were happy being alone.
As I said above, there is a question (rather than certainty) over whether a person wants to be alone when they are observed to be by themselves.  We should be careful about assuming that a person with a severe communication disability (arising from autism, learning disabilities or dementia) is content if they are by themselves and we should be aware that this assumption can spring from our use of the same criteria that we use with our friends and family for determining whether a person wants be alone ie. assuming that if they are by themselves they are content and could reach out for human contact if they wanted.  For a person who lacks fundamental communication skills our assumption should rather be that ‘this person may not have the ability to reach out for the social contact that they desire and need’ and we should investigate how to approach the person sensitively to determine whether their isolation is in fact something they desire or would rather was not the case.  So, the next time you see someone by themselves, ask yourself this: is this person content with being alone or is loneliness damaging their mental health?

Intensive Interaction in Adult Services

In September 2015 I accepted a second Intensive Interaction Co-ordinator position, this time for the Hesley Group, an adult autism service based south of Doncaster. I have a contract for 1 day per week for a year and my aim is to develop a sustainable community of practice at the Hesley Village, the companys central site.
The task doesn’t seem straightforward. The village has over 600 members of staff with the care staff split into three shift based teams. There are over 40 adults with autism each of which is assigned a key worker, speech and language therapist, occupational therapist and vocational team member. There is a management hierarchy comprising of a team leader, deputy care manager and care manager all of whom are involved directly in the resident’s care.
A sustainable community of practice needs to involve all these people. Staff from every level of the hierarchy must be able to access training and mentoring as well as having a voice around the table so that the development of the service is owned by the community.
Questions raised included… How do we offer a course that requires regular attendance in a shift based work environment? Should we be changing the practice of a small group of staff or raising awareness of II across the entire staff team? How can we offer mentoring to management? How do we make sure that stories of success are not lost?
In answer to these questions, our initial model is as follows: I will work with 4 residents from one care managers area for 24 weeks. I will visit the resident’s homes and model intensive interaction, providing half hour mentoring sessions to the key worker and other on-shift staff with one mentoring session for other staff drawn from a pool of SLT’s, OT’s, care managers and vocational staff. This means the frontline staff will have the most time with me while therapy and management staff will still have 3 practical mentoring sessions and all the learning tasks associated with this teaching.
During handover in the afternoon I intend to deliver a classroom based session with time for explanation of principles and sharing of video.
I’ll let you know how we get on in. :O)

Musical Interaction Training 2015

I am pleased to say there will be another Musical Interaction training day on Tuesday March 10th 2015.  This course will be open to teachers and teaching assistants from any special school and the aim of the course is to introduce a clear set of principles for musical interaction and intensive interaction along with a new repertoire of musical applications in order to make a genuine impact upon the practice of the participants.  The feedback from the last course was very good and the 6 week follow-ups have indicated that all participants have been able to apply the principles in the context of their work successfully.  Comment from this evaluation included:
“I have been using the ideas a lot at school and its going really well! I am actually using some of the songs on Thursday in my lesson observation! It still seems to be going well and they have all loved it – no matter which age group I am teaching.”

Katie Meeney, Music Co-ordinator, Mossbrook Primary, Sheffield

“I feel I understand the theory behind the practice in a much deeper way”

M Blackwell, Thameside Music Service

“The way this course has been delivered has been inspiring…Fundamentals were explained clearly through the games and discussions at the beginning of the day”  

Matthew Grayling, Woolley Wood School

“The course was perfect in every way”   

Sue Brear, Teaching Assistant, Rowan School

All the participants gave the highest score of excellent when rating the course delivery, content and venue.
Follow the link for more information.  If you would like to contact Matthew Laurie about the course then please call 07896 977388.
http://understandingarts.co.uk/?tribe_events=musical-interaction-for-sen-with-matthew-laurie-2-3

Musical Interaction Training Day

Last week I delivered the first ‘Understanding Musical Interaction’ training day at Woolley Wood School.  The day was for teachers and teaching assistants working in SEN settings who were interested in the use of music and communication with children with special needs.  My aim for the day was for participants to pick up the principles of the work and be able to apply them in the context of their workplace.
IMG_1907The approach is thoroughly grounded in Intensive Interaction so we investigated the principles by engaging in experiential learning activities and reflecting on footage of sessions that have taken place at Woolley Wood.  A special element of this course was the opportunity to participate in a music circle with children from Woolley Wood so that attendees could see the work in practice.  The afternoon was spent making music, understanding the repertoire and learning how to play the kalimba, a musical instrument that was included in the course fee that each participant could take back to their school.  I enjoyed the day throughly and included below is some of the feedback from the participants.
The next ‘Understanding Musical Interaction’ training day is on March 10th 2015.  For more information see www.understandingarts.co.uk.
“Perfect in every way” Sue Brear, Rowan School, Sheffield
“The way this course has been delivered is inspiring and I feel excited about trying these things (principles) not just in school but in social situations with friends! :0)” Matthew Grayling, Woolley Wood School, Sheffield
“I feel I understand the theory behind the practice in a much deeper way” Matthew Blackwell, Tameside Music Service
“Videos we are useful way of showing and defining Intensive Interaction. Fundamentals were explained very clearly through the games and discussions at the beginning of the day” Matthew Grayling, Woolley Wood School, Sheffield
“I can see clearly how musical interaction and intensive interaction are linked.  Everything comes from the child and during music sessions when we go from the child we see a better response” Bev Cotterill, Woolley Wood School, Sheffield
6 out of 6 delegates said they have a clearer understanding of the benefits of musical and intensive interaction.
6 out of 6 delegates said that they feel more confident to try to apply the principles in their school.
6 out of 6 delegates rated the Delivery, Content, Venue and Resources as excellent