Engaging with children on the autistic spectrum can be a challenging task, and they often live in a solitary world devoid of shared activity. Intensive Interaction is increasingly being found to be an effective way of working with children with autism and developing emotional engagement, and this film shows how the approach can enable others to connect and communicate with them.
The film follows Phoebe Caldwell as she works with children she has never met before in a school setting, documenting progress from initial rejection to intimate interaction. An exploration of sensory difficulties with GP Matt Hoghton, "Clinical Champion in Learning Disabilities at the Royal College of General Practitioners, is followed by interventions with both Phoebe and the children's teacher, Penny Mytton, showing how using familiar body language and avoiding overstimulation of the child's brain encourages them to calm down. Documenting the way Intensive Interaction enables the brain to work more effectively and increase social responsiveness, the film concludes with a complete intervention between Phoebe and eight year old Jamie, charting a journey from rejection to successful communication.
Phoebe Caldwell has worked for over 35 years as a practitioner with people whose severe learning disabilities are linked with behavioural distress. She was a Rowntree Research Fellow for four years, trains practitioners, parents and carers in her successful approach to Intensive Interaction and is employed by the NHS Social Services and Community and Education Services to work with difficult-to-provide-for individuals.
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