Intensive interaction

Intensive interaction is a practical approach designed to be used with people with learning disabilities that is commonly used with congenitally deafblind and multi-sensory-impaired people.

It can be used when the individual may initially seem resistant to or disinterested in interacting with other people, and involves the person communicating with the deafblind person by adjusting their communication style in various ways:

  • Adjusting voice, gaze or body language to appear less threatening or more interesting
  • Following the deafblind person’s lead by responding to them rather than dictating the pattern of the interaction
  • Imitation to initiate communication and changes in intonation to engage and relate to the individual
  • Treating the person’s actions as communication
  • Observing how the interaction is proceeding. This can involve other people observing or video recording the interaction to analyse afterwards
  • Using rhythm and repetition to hold the person’s attention

Further information on intensive interaction (external website) .


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First published: Monday 21 May 2012
Updated: Monday 10 July 2017