I am currently employed as Intensive Interaction Co-ordinator by Woolley Wood School in Sheffield. It is my job to develop and implement a consistent school wide approach to Intensive Interaction. This is proving to be very interesting work and over the course of the first year of the project I came to the conclusion that the discussions that I was having with staff as I mentored their practice might well be of interest to others outside of the school. As we deliver the project in 2014/15 therefore, I will be blogging weekly about the progress in the school and will cover topics such as practice, principles, resources and recording methods.
Our first day of contact time when well today. The day started with a full school briefing which seems to have been well received from staff. Taking these opportunities to speak to all of the staff is critical to my strategy this year in order to involve all members of staff in the community of practice or, more specifically do everything I can to help staff feel that they are all involved in and can contribute to a practice that is developing and moving forward.
I made 3 class visits over the course of the day and had some very interesting discussions with staff about the practice. Key issues that came up were:
- Assumptions being made about why a child disengaged rather than reflecting on the many factors that may have resulted in this behaviour e.g. eye level, direction of approach, volume, object of child’s interest, what happened exactly when the child left etc. We are much less likely to find a way to reach the child if we do not analyse these factors and try to find out how we can change our interaction style to best suit the child.
- Preconceptions about what a child finds meaningful about an object/interaction/behaviour. The children that at Woolley Wood behaviour in atypical ways and it can therefore be difficult for us to empathise and understand the world from their point of view. If we try to be carefully observe what is happening moment-to-moment without habitually judging what we see then we are more likely to see things as they actually are. If we can do this then we are better placed to see the world from the child’s point of view and make an appropriate response.
- Falling into the habit of leading task-based interactions. I had several conversations with staff about this and it is important to wait and see what will happen rather than lead it. What I usually say in a conversation like this is that all the information you need to know about what you need to do is right in front of you, you just need wait and look in the right way.
A large part of the day was spent testing out, proofing, printing and putting together the new session record books. There will be one book for each child and the form has been designed to be filled quickly while still recording all the important information we need. I will be testing the form out over the coming months and we will upload it once its efficacy has been proved.