published 25 Nov 2014 by houghp in category with 0 comments

Ben is a young man who has been known to Us in a Bus for about a year. A generally quiet person, who kept his head hanging down, he initially often appeared to be asleep during our time with him and although our feeling was that he was aware of us it was not clear if this was the case.

Careful observation showed that there were very subtle responses when we used intensive interaction techniques with Ben. We spend long periods of time breathing with him and he began to vary his breath, occasionally puffing out much more distinctly. We mirrored this by gently puffing on his hand. Was that a hint of a smile?

Gradually, over the coming months we extended our interactions around Ben’s breathing to include much bigger puffs on his hand, puffs of air or gentle blowing on his neck and cheek, firm downwards strokes from his shoulder to hand saying “Ben” in response to his out breaths. The smiles became frequent, Ben lifted his head, he offered his hand. We celebrated every interaction, frequently telling him how brilliant he was and, little by little we began to see Ben’s confidence grow.

Ben now makes steady and prolonged eye contact and explores equipment in what seems a very intentional way, especially musical instruments. He reaches for our keyboard and plays it in a variety of ways with his hands. He has started to communicate clear choices about which sound setting he wants on the keyboard by moving our hands to the buttons and “flapping” towards them.

We even heard Ben’s voice for an extended period of time during one session, which we understand is a rare treat. We feel that Ben recognises and anticipates his time with us and on one of our most recent visits we were thrilled to hear that when his support staff had prepared him for our visit he had seemed to get really excited. He seemed to confirm this by offering us both a hug when we arrived and this has become a regular part of his greeting.

We feel like we are at the beginning of a fulfilling, positive and exciting social relationship with Ben and believe his response to us may mean he thinks that too! What a wonderful place to be!

Some names have been changed to protect confidentiality but otherwise these are all real life example of our work.