Fostering social engagement in Romanian children with communicative impairments : the experiences of newly trained practitioners of Intensive Interaction

Zeedyk, M Suzanne and Davies, Cliff and Parry, Sarah and Caldwell, Phoebe (2009) Fostering social engagement in Romanian children with communicative impairments : the experiences of newly trained practitioners of Intensive Interaction. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37 (3). pp. 186-196. ISSN 1354-4187

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Accessible summary • This article describes the benefits of using an intervention technique called ‘Intensive Interaction’ to make connections with children who are socially withdrawn because of communicative impairments. • It summarises the accounts of 12 new trainees who used the technique while working as volunteers with abandoned, special needs children living in state care in Romania. • The comments of the volunteers showed that they could identify improvements in the children’s communicative abilities once they began to use Intensive Interaction. For example, the children looked at them more often, they were calmer, and they were more likely to turn the interactions into games. • The volunteers’ comments also made it clear that they felt closer to the children as a result of these changes in the interaction style. • These results are encouraging, because they suggest that practitioners can be trained in the basics of Intensive Interaction quickly and at a low cost, enabling them to reach children who often have trouble connecting to other people. Summary Within the special needs field, interactive interventions are gaining attention as a means of promoting social engagement for individuals with communicative impairments. The present paper examined the experiences of practitioners of one such approach, Intensive Interaction (II), by analysing written reflections provided by 12 newly trained practitioners. Their insights are particularly interesting because they were working in a voluntary capacity with a novel population: Romanian children living in state care, whose communicative impairments have been complicated by a history of neglect. A thematic analysis indicated that one hour’s training in II was sufficient for (i) enabling trainees to identify key changes in children’s engagement (e.g. increased attention to partner, decreased distress) and (ii) strengthening trainees’ sense of connection to the children. If such brief training sessions are effective in improving communicative interactions, this offers benefits to health and education service providers seeking to implement communicative intervention programmes. While interactive approaches have potential in all regions, they may be particularly valuable in countries such as Romania, which face monumental financial challenges in improving standards of childcare.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
British Journal of Learning Disabilities
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? pediatricsphychiatric mental health ??
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Deposited On:
08 Oct 2021 12:10
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 11:37