Graham Firth’s Intensive Interaction Blog

Below is a collection of various blogs by Graham Firth, covering a variety of topic areas and issues associated with the theory and practice of Intensive Interaction.

‘Silent Minority’ TV documentary … the 40th anniversary

The TV documentary ‘Silent Minority’ was first shown on British TV 40 years ago this week – it perhaps did more than anything else to evidence the degrading and inhuman living conditions suffered by many people with learning disabilities in large scale institutional care at the time.
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Is what I am doing Intensive Interaction or not?

So, how do I know if I am doing Intensive Interaction with a person?
For my Blog this week I am reproducing a slightly abridged section of the FAQs document from the Intensive Interaction ‘Adult Services Documents’ and ‘Curriculum Documents for Schools’ packs.

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30 Years of Intensive Interaction Research

This Blog revisits the first published Intensive Interaction research paper (that is now nearly 30 years old) – illustrating just how long-standing and well-established Intensive Interaction research now is.

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A Welcome Blog From Graham Firth

A welcoming Blog from Graham Firth: in his first Blog on the new ‘Connecting with Intensive Interaction’ website, Graham Firth sets out a few (admittedly quite vague) plans for the future development of the site … and invites new contributors to write their own Blogs!

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The importance of social interaction in learning and development

With the issue of children being kept out of school being currently debated, and trying not to take sides on how and when all children will be allowed back into their classrooms, I have revisited some of the work of educational theorist Dr Barbara Rogoff.  From Rogoff’s point of view a child’s individual cognitive development is ’embedded in the practical and routine activities of daily life’, this development being seen to happen due to a child becoming increasingly immersed in a supportive and expanding ‘social world’. Thus learning happens when a child is structurally embedded ‘in a system of interrelations with other people’, without there necessarily being…

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Intensive Interaction and Positive Psychology – an article by Jana Standford

I was recently in some discussion with a psychologist who was wanting to look at Intensive Interaction from a ‘therapeutic’ and positive psychology perspective. I was then reminded of a article we published in our Intensive Interaction Newsletter (Issue 35) by Jana Stanford who was then working in a voluntary capacity for our Leeds & York Partnership NHS Trust. Although I still find it quite an intellectually challenging read, it does contain some very keen and worthwhile insights e.g. about being able ‘to explore the self-perspectives of people with learning disabilities on their own happiness’!  I have copied this article…

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Wired for Communication and how the neuroscience of infancy helps in understanding the behaviours of Intensive Interaction

For my blog this week I am once again summarising a really interesting chapter from the book ‘Intensive Interaction Theoretical Perspectives‘ (Ed: Hewett, D. 2011) that I have been rereading recently. This time it is a chapter by Dr Suzanne Zeedyk: Wired for Communication and how the neuroscience of infancy helps in understanding the behaviours of Intensive Interaction.According to Dr Zeedyk ‘the psychological and neurological sciences have, over the past several decades, revealed two key insights about human development. These are that infants come into the world already connected to other people, and that the pathways in their brains are literally moulded by…

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Intensive Interaction emotional development and emotional well-being: by Melanie Nind

For my blog this week I am again summarising a chapter from the book ‘Intensive Interaction Theoretical Perspectives‘ (Ed: Hewett, D. 2011) that I have been rereading recently. This time it is the chapter by Professor Melanie Nind:  Intensive Interaction, emotional development and emotional well-being  In this chapter Melanie Nind (now Professor of Education and Director of the Centre for Research in Inclusion at Southampton University) sets out a perspective on Intensive Interaction being concurrently both educational and therapeutic in nature, addressing the important and interrelated issues of emotional well-being and development.  Initially Melanie relates a little history, pointing to the fact that their students’ emotional well-being was not one of the issues…

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Using Intensive Interaction with learners or service users who present with some level of ‘engagement and/or task avoidance’

My Blog this week is admittedly quite long – but please stick with it as I think it addresses a vitally important but little discussed issue. Here goes: The 2019 Intensive Interaction Weekend Workshop discussed using Intensive Interaction with learners or service users who presented with some level of engagement or task avoidance*. We collectively as participants thought that we saw a range of children or adults who fitted somewhere along ‘a broad spectrum of engagement or task avoidance’ with such generalised ‘avoidance’ often differing in its form and severity  (*We purposively did not base our discussions on considerations of the apparent…

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‘Interactive approaches to teaching and learning’ by Dr Penny Lacy

Interactive approaches to teaching and learning  For my blog this week (which are becoming much more infrequent I know, sorry about that) I am summarising a chapter by the late and sadly missed Dr Penny Lacy from the book: ‘Intensive Interaction Theoretical Perspectives‘ (2011) edited by Dave Hewett, Sage Publications, London.  There is some belting stuff in it! According to Penny ‘Interactive approaches to teaching and learning … developed in the UK in response to the prevailing dominance of behavioural approaches in the 1980’s’. She notes the concern prevalent at the time that skills were being taught that did not lead to an understanding…

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