Intensive Interaction: a Research Review


Intensive Interaction is a socially interactive approach to supporting and developing the pre verbal communication and sociability of people with severe or profound learning disabilities, or severe autism. Developed in the 1980’s from the psychological model of ‘augmented mothering’ the approach currently has an increasing number of proponents who make claims for increased social responsiveness due to the use of the approach. This short paper aims to evaluate some of the evidential claims of consequential increased social responses from people with severe and profound and multiple learning disabilities due to the use of Intensive Interaction techniques. Thus the paper presents a review of findings presented in relevant research papers which have been published in generally recognised academic journals. From this review the author concludes that although expanding, the current body of research has been limited in scope and scale, and has generally been conducted by a small number of Intensive Interaction practitioners and advocates. However, increased client social responsiveness was consistently reported across the research projects reviewed. In conclusion, this paper advocates for further systematic research into the approach by the wider research community to further develop the evidential base of the approach.

How to Cite

Firth G., (2006) “Intensive Interaction: a Research Review”, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice 3(1). doi:








Graham Firth





Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

File Checksums (MD5)

  • PDF: 5f878d6eaf8954f39e0e4eb51d4af2d0