published 24 Nov 2014
in category with
Christopher is in his forties and lives in a residential home with two other residents. He has profound learning and physical disabilities and sensory impairments. He experiences his life either lying on his bed or in his personalised wheelchair, and the circumstances of his life mean that it is easy for him to become isolated.
Christopher’s condition means that it is a challenge to find ways to help him to connect with other people. His lack of sight, limited hearing and restricted physical ability mean that the simple ways that most people socialise, such as having a coffee and a chat or watching television together, are not available to him and alternatives need to be explored.
Our Interaction Practitioners spend an hour with Christopher each week. They always make him aware of their presence by creating a physical connection with him whilst speaking . . . a rub of his chest or a tap on the mattress next to his head. Christopher associates the guitar with his Us in a Bus sessions and this can be used to amplify sounds and as a sounding board. The guitar is positioned next to his wrist so that he can feel the vibrations, and he turns towards it and makes movements with his mouth. The Interaction Practitioners respond to his movements by making louder sounds on the guitar which he can hear. They respond to every sound he makes either by jiggling his body, becoming more vigorous as his sounds become louder and matching his energy levels. These techniques show Christopher that they have heard and seen him. He often responds by smiling and moving his hand. Over time, he has begun to explore the guitar and other equipment with his fingers expressing interest and purpose in his movement.
The Interaction Practitioners believe that Christopher recognises them and responds directly to the stimuli they provide. He has begun to turn his head around as if to search for them when they are in the room. Forming this relationship is fundamental to helping Christopher understand that social interaction can be enjoyable and will build his self-esteem. The plan and hope is that he will understand that it is good to be with him and that he is valued as a person.
Some names have been changed to protect confidentiality but otherwise these are all real life example of our work.