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)