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

M. Suzanne Zeedyk, Cliff Davies, Sarah Parry, Phoebe Caldwell

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    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)186-196
    Number of pages11
    JournalBritish Journal of Learning Disabilities
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

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