Catherine’s legacy: social communication development for individuals with profound learning difficulties and fragile life expectancies.
British Journal of Special Education, 32(3) pp. 116–122.
In this article, Mary Kellett draws on case study evidence to illustrate how an 11–year-old girl's quality of life was transformed in the last few months before she died when an Intensive Interaction intervention approach was adopted. The study raises issues about the way we respond to individuals with the most profound disabilities who are hardest to reach and have fragile life expectancies. It also examines the role of the researcher in situations where a participant dies; how this impacts on data processing - particularly where this involves video footage of a participant -and the complex ethics which need to be considered. Initially, the sadness of the situation and the incompleteness of the data overshadowed the findings. Due attention was not given to the contribution Catherine's data could make to our knowledge and understanding of the lived experiences of children like her and the implications this has for policy and practice. However, ‘interrupted’ findings from her case study point to the effectiveness of the Intensive Interaction approach in developing sociability, particularly with regard to eye contact and the ability to attend to a joint focus. This article affirms the principle that it is never too late to start an intervention; that severity of impairment should not be a barrier to this; and that the social interaction Intensive Interaction promotes can make a crucial difference to quality of life
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