Using Intensive Interaction: building relationships with people who have profound learning disabilities and complex needs.

Thursday, 26 April 2018, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM [GMT]

Whitestone Way, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Ireland


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IASLT Members Partial Approval -€80.00

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Non IASLT Members Partial Approval - €180.00

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Event Information

Thursday, 26 April 2018, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM [GMT]

About the Event

Using Intensive Interaction: building relationships with people who have profound learning disabilities and complex needs.

This workshop introduces participants to the context and theory of Intensive Interaction and explore the practicalities of its implementation. It considers how the approach can best be delivered in different settings, with people of differing needs. It looks in detail at some of the sensory processing issues people will complex needs may well be experiencing - and at how our understanding of those issues can help us ensure we are using Intensive Interaction in the most supportive way for each individual. The workshop is best suited to those who support people who can seem ‘hard to reach’ and who struggle in connecting with the social world – people with severe/profound learning disabilities and/or complex needs such as autism. It may also be of interest to those supporting people with dementia.


Learning objectives of the training day:

· To understand the principles of Intensive Interaction.

· To explore how these principles can be applied to relationship building with people with

profound learning disabilities and complex needs.

· To make plans to put these principles into action.


Training day outline:

9.30 Introductions

10.00 Critical incident exercise (in pairs)

10.20 Feedback to the group and discussion of findings

10.50 BREAK

11.05 Introduction to the basic principles of Intensive Interaction

12.00 Video – ‘Learning the language’ by Phoebe Caldwell

12.30 LUNCH

1.15 Intensive Interaction and Autism

2.00 Trouble shooting - pros and cons of this approach

2.30 BREAK

2.40 Plans for action (small groups)

3.15 Feedback to the group and discussion of plans

3.30 Conclusions, handouts and evaluation.


Janet Gurney is Director of Training for 'Us in a Bus,' a voluntary organisation that uses social interaction to build relationships with people with profound learning difficulties and complex needs including autism and challenging/distressed behaviour. Janet has been using Intensive Interaction in this work for over 25 years, and has had the privilege of working alongside Phoebe Caldwell. Janet uses her experience, perception and sensitivity to establish common ground with people who are often isolated, helping them to have more of a positive voice and an impact on their world. She has a post-graduate certificate in training and is skilled at adapting her training approach to meet the needs of participants.


Janet also works as a consultant for organisations wanting to improve the way they connect with their service users, most recently with Caritas, in St Petersburg. In 2013 she was a guest speaker, alongside Dave Hewett and Gina Davies, at an international Autism conference in Warsaw. In 2015 she addressed the Chromosome18 Europe conference in Rome. Janet’s ability to look at the world from the individual’s viewpoint and the challenges they face means she can use her skills to make a real difference to their lives. The therapeutic impact of this can be seen in people’s increased confidence and willingness to engage with others.


Her workshops show people how to build and develop support for people who can often seem ‘difficult to reach’, including people with pmld and/or autism. Janet explores the principles and theory of Intensive Interaction and Responsive Communication to show how this can be used to build more fulfilling, interactive and equal relationships with people who find communication a huge challenge.


Registration Fee (includes a light lunch):

IASLT Member fee:€80





Cancellation policy

If you would like to cancel a booking - please contact the office -

Terms and Conditions:

  1. Applicants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
  2. IASLT members and non-members are welcome to attend.
  3. The registration fee must be paid in full on confirmation of your place.
  4. Booking deposits are non-refundable.
  5. The full cost of the course is payable in advance of the training.
  6. In the event of a cancellation, applicants must give IASLT 10 days’ notice.  
  7. Failure to give at least 10 days advance notice of non-attendance will result in the course cost being retained by IASLT.
  8. Failure to give any notice of non-attendance will result in the entire course cost being retained by IASLT.

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