My name is Inna Ryazanova. I live and work in Russia, in St. Petersburg. Now I want to describe my experience of meeting with the Intensive Interaction method and with the magic bus and its team – with the organization Us in a Bus.
It all started long ago, when there was not any bus in my life yet. One day in October 2015, the Finnish speech therapist Kaisa Martikainen told us about the Intensive Interaction method in Caritas school. The method caused great controversy and disagreement both in the lecture hall and after the seminar. A few months passed, and I again heard about Intensive Interaction. This time, in May 2016, Dave Hewett, one of the authors of the method and its main popularizer, came to Caritas School. Dave is a great inspiration; after his emotional performances, the Caritas School decided to take up this direction in more detail. Shortly thereafter, I received the task of writing a report on Intensive Interaction. So I had to look through a lot of videos and read many different articles. Among other things, I found a remarkable article by Phoebe Caldwell ‘Intensive Interaction: Using body language to Communicate’. I liked the article so much that I wrote to the author and invited her to Russia. Phoebe declined, having sighed to her venerable age, but it was Phoebe who introduced me to Us in a Bus and personally to Janet Gurney.
And then in May 2017, Janet arrived in St. Petersburg. Two days we listened and watched, pondered and doubted with Janet. And although three months have passed since then, our communication has not ended. We plan to still meet, still study and just enjoy each other.
Us in a Bus, namely Janet, clarified a lot and added a lot to the concept of “Intensive Interaction” for me personally. Theoretically, I was most impressed with the self-confirmation concept of Phoebe Caldwell. In practical terms, Janet revealed to me many important things about sensory problems of autism. It was necessary and timely knowledge. I use “Intensive Interaction” with my students from the orphanage and boarding school several times a week. In addition to my joy on the subject of the child’s (and adult’s) joy, “Intensive Interaction” gives me a feeling of great satisfaction and intimacy with my interlocutors.
For Russia as a whole, an authoritarian, directive attitude toward children is characteristic. This is especially noticeable when we speak about sick children. “Intensive Interaction” allows my colleagues and children’s parents to look “from below” to their students or children. It helps to develop new thinking and to establish equal, partnership relations. But the main thing is that it makes everyone happier!
Inna Ryazanova, Caritas Educational Center.