Intensive Interaction Institute

A Brief History

Dr Dave Hewett OBE Director Intensive Interaction Institute
Dr Dave Hewett OBE Director Intensive Interaction Institute

Intensive Interaction is an approach designed to help people at early levels of development, people who have severe, pro found or complex learning difficulties and people who have autism.

Intensive Interaction works on early interaction abilities - how to enjoy being with other people - to relate, interact, know, understand and practice communication routines.

Intensive Interaction teaches and develops the ‘Fundamentals of Communication’, attainments such as: use and understanding of eye contacts, facial expressions, vocalisations leading to speech, taking turns in exchanges of conversation and the structure of conversation.

Our approach is intended for use by all practitioners – teachers and assistants, speech and language therapists, care staff, occupational therapists, psychologists – all of us who work for the well-being of the people we came into this field to support.

Intensive Interaction will also be invaluable to parents and family members both as a major force in helping their child progress and develop and as a relaxed and naturalistic means of ordinary communication and relationship.

Intensive Interaction teaches and develops interaction and communication by doing and taking part in interaction and communication. The activities are relaxed and pleasurable, motivating for the person who is the learner.

Our approach is for people of all ages and for people with many, various types of impairment or disability, including ASD.

Many years ago, in the early nineteen-eighties, I was the Principal of a very special, special school near London. We had many learners who were still at very early levels of development as communicators.

It was clear to us that we did not know how to help them develop as communicators, we did not have the teaching tools, and our searching and reading told us that no-one else knew.

We set out to develop an approach. Intensive Interaction was developed throughout the nineteen-eighties by the team at that school. It was developed by a combination of careful, sensitive practical trial and error, and by studying and applying the research literature on how all people develop communication abilities during the early interactions of infancy.

As we developed the approach and its effectiveness, we found that students who previously preferred a solitary lifestyle would start to take an interest in us, ‘light up’, share face-to-face times, become more vocal; students who already had some ability to interact would become more adept and focused, more vocally noisy and conversational, some making further and greater progress with speech interaction.

Our successes with these students motivated us. Since the late eighties and early nineties, we have been increasingly developing an organisation dedicated to the dissemination of Intensive Interaction so that practitioners and families everywhere can help the people with whom they are concerned to know more about the joy and wonder of communication, interaction and human connection.

Due to the Internet, our dissemination has increasingly become global and we now work in many countries. All of this information and links to everything Intensive Interaction can be found here. Welcome to the website.