After working for 6 years in the 1980s as a care-assistant at a large residential hospital for people with learning disabilities, Graham became a qualified teacher after earning his P.G.C.E from The University of Leeds. Initially working in mainstream primary education, he then moved into further education for students with severe or profound learning disabilities; it was with such learners that he adopted Intensive Interaction as his main classroom practice. To further develop his understanding of Intensive Interaction, and its place in special education more generally, Graham went on to study for an Advanced Diploma in Special Needs Education and a Masters of Arts degree (in Education) from The Open University.
In 2003 Graham took up the post of Intensive Interaction Project Leader at the Leeds & York Partnership NHS Trust, where he worked for 17 years to train and support others to adopt and develop their own Intensive Interaction practices or services. Over his time as the NHS project leader, Graham published a range of Intensive Interaction books, training packs and research and position papers (see below).
Graham won the Leeds & York Partnership NHS Trust prize for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Improving Services’ in 2009 and was also presented with the Intensive Interaction Institute ‘Certificate of Outstanding Dedication and Service’ by Dr Dave Hewett OBE in 2014. Graham was Editor of the Intensive Interaction Newsletter from 2004 to 2017, and has organised the national UK Intensive Interaction Conference since 2005.
List of Publications
Books and Chapters:
- Barber, M. & Firth, G. (2019) Delivering Intensive Interaction across Settings: practice, community and leadership, KDP: Melbourne.
- Firth, G. ‘Chapters 2, 9 & 13’ in Hewett, D. [Ed] (2018) The Intensive Interaction Handbook – 2nd Edition, Sage Publications: London.
- Hewett, D., Firth, G., Bond, L. & Jackson, R. (2015) ‘Intensive Interaction: Developing fundamental and early communication abilities’ in The Routledge Companion to Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, Routledge: Oxon.
- Firth, G. (2011) ‘Intensive Interaction for Inclusion and Development’ in Intensive Interaction – Theoretical Perspectives (2011), Hewett, D. (Ed) Sage Publications: London.
- Hewett, D., Firth, G., Barber, M. & Harrison, T. (2011) The Intensive Interaction Handbook, Sage Publications: London.
- Firth, G. & Barber, M. (2010) Using Intensive Interaction with a Person with a Social or Communicative Impairment, Jessica Kingsley: London.
- Firth, G., Berry, R. & Irvine, C. (2010) Understanding Intensive Interaction: context and concepts for professionals and families, Jessica Kingsley: London.
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Resource Packs & Training DVDs:
- Hewett, D. & Firth, G. (2015) The Intensive Interaction in Action DVD, The Intensive Interaction Institute: Puckeridge.
- Firth, G. & Guthrie, N. (2014) Intensive Interaction for People with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities: An introduction to the use of Intensive Interaction for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, The Intensive Interaction Institute: Puckeridge.
- Firth, G., Hewett, D. & McKim, J. (2012) Adult Services Documents Pack, The Intensive Interaction Institute: Puckeridge.
- Firth, G., Menzies, L. & Hewett, D. (2012) The Intensive Interaction Information Pack: an introduction to the use of Intensive Interaction for parent, carers and support staff, The Intensive Interaction Institute: Puckeridge.
- Hewett, D. & Firth, G. (2012) Curriculum Documents for Schools, The Intensive Interaction Institute: Puckeridge.
Articles & Research papers:
- Firth, G., Glyde, M. & Denby, G. (2020) ‘A qualitative study of the practice-related decision-making of Intensive Interaction Practitioners’, British Journal of Learning Disabilities. DOI: 10.1111/bld.12355.
- Barber, M. & Firth, G. (2020) ‘Intensive Interaction: an intervention, or an aspirational cultural norm?’ PMLD Link: Northampton.
- Berry, R., Firth, G., Leeming, C. & Sharma, V. (2014) ‘Clinical psychologists’ views of Intensive Interaction as an intervention in learning disability services’, Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 21 (5), p.403-410.
- Firth, G., Poyser, C. & Guthrie, G. (2013) ‘Training care staff in Intensive interactions’, Learning Disability Practice, 16(10), p.14-19.
- Sharma, V. & Firth, G. (2012) ‘Effective engagement through Intensive Interaction’, Learning Disability Practice, 15 (9), p. 20-23.
- Firth, G. (2008) ‘A Dual Aspect Process Model of Intensive Interaction’, British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37(1), p.45-49.
- Firth, G., Elford, H., Leeming, C. & Crabbe, M. (2008) ‘Intensive Interaction as a novel approach in social care: care staffs’ views on the practice change process’, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 21, p.58-65.
- Firth, G. (2006) ‘Intensive Interaction: a research review’, Mental Health and Learning Disability Research and Practice, 3 (1), p.53-58.
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