The long game of intensive interaction
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The ‘Long Game’ of Intensive Interaction. Dariell Rice, Speech Pathologist. Let’s start with a couple of scenarios. Does this sound familiar?.

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The ‘Long Game’ of Intensive Interaction

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The ‘Long Game’ of Intensive Interaction

Dariell Rice, Speech Pathologist

Let’s start with a couple of scenarios...

Does this sound familiar?

It is 3.30pm. You and 4 of your colleagues are sitting in an otherwise empty classroom watching the door for new arrivals. All day you have been dodging, “I’m not going to be able to make it to the meeting- I have a thing on...” statements from members of the group. Plates of Tim-tams and lolly snakes have been artfully arranged, the interactive white board is on. You are poised and ready...

... For yet another Intensive Interaction meeting that is poorly attended and falls flat despite the wonderful efforts of too few and is another nail in the coffin of your resilience and your enthusiasm...

Or this?

You have just started to ‘chat’ with an individual with whom you have been using Intensive Interaction with for quite a while- years in fact. The signals have been the same thus far and the conversation seems to be developing along the same lines; as it has done for quite some time. You find your mind drifting to preparations for swimming after the morning tea break, then to that staff meeting you have been dreading and then to what in the hell are you going to have for dinner...

What might these scenarios reflect?

  • That the ‘honeymoon’ is well and truly over!

  • The plateau is being well and truly surveyed

  • Intrigue (from both sides) has been achieved but now reality has set in (for at least one of you!)

  • Deeper systemic issues regarding the set- up of I.I. in your setting (initiative decay & sustainability of practice)

What to do?

Think about how & why Intensive Interaction happened in your setting:

  • Was there whole context/ setting involvement in establishing I.I.?

  • Was there support from leadership?

  • Was the uptake of Intensive Interaction supported by the values, philosophies & pedagogy of your setting?

  • How did training in the approach occur (whole staff vs. Small numbers or individuals)?

  • Have key personnel moved on?

  • Has the set-up been sustainable?

How to re-ignite?

  • Footage of interactions is our most powerful tool- we need to use it in as many ways as we can:

    • Dive into the archives

    • Re-acquaint with familiar partners

    • Blooper reels!

    • LAUGH!

  • Go back to the books

    • Re-visit the words that you devoured after training

    • Drag out your training materials

    • ‘pigeon- hole’ drops

    • General staff meeting agenda items

  • Review, discuss, map & explore your setting as a whole

  • Use other I.I. Communities of practice to draw support, knowledge from

  • Honk from behind!!

  • Remind your practitioner group of what you were doing before establishing I.I. In your setting (anything has to be better than that!)

  • Conduct a review of Intensive Interaction in your setting

    • It is probably time if you are experiencing a sense of ‘staleness’ in the practitioner group

    • Doesn’t have to be negative!

    • Review policies, scope of practice, supporting documentation

    • Enlist help from the leadership team

In Intensive Interaction there is no final siren, and no points are tallied. It is a long game that continues to spiral upwards and outwards, its length and duration as infinite and undefinable as the movement of planets in time and space.

There is nothing else to be done except sit back, relax and enjoy the match!

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