Ricky is eleven and has severe autism. Phoebe Caldwell has been working with adults and children with learning difficulties for over thirty years. She uses a communication method called Intensive Interaction to get through to people like Ricky. Working with him both at home and school, Phoebe uses Ricky's behaviour and body language as the basis for communicating with him. As he begins to recognise his own rhythms in someone external to him, Phoebe is able to draw Ricky out of his solitary world and into shared activities. Intensive Interaction is relatively simple to use and teach to others. It can make a big difference to communicating with pupils with a variety of severe special educational needs. It requires simply that we think about the way we communicate with people like Ricky. By placing value in every aspect of a pupil's behaviour, we recognise their 'language' and can use it as the basis for communication with them.
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