From Isolation to Intimacy

Making Friends without Words

If you have no language, how can you make yourself understood, let alone make friends? Phoebe Caldwell has worked for many years with people with severe intellectual disabilities and/or autistic spectrum disorder who are non-verbal, and whose inability to communicate has led to unhappy and often violent behaviour. In this new book she explores the nature of close relationships, and shows how these are based not so much on words as on the ability to listen, pay attention, and respond in terms that are familiar to the other person.

This is the key to Intensive Interaction, which she shows is a straightforward and uncomplicated way, through attending to body language and other non-verbal means of communication, of establishing contact and building a relationship with people who are non-verbal, even those in a state of considerable distress. This simple method is accessible to anyone who lives or works with such people, and is shown to transform lives and to introduce a sense of fun, of participation and of intimacy, as trust and familiarity are established.

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Press reviews for: From Isolation to Intimacy

Journal of Intellectual Disability Research

Anyone working closely with people with severe learning disabilities or Autism Spectrum Conditions will find this latest book invaluable. Building on the themes she presented in Finding you Finding me, Phoebe Caldwell presents a user-friendly guide to using intensive interaction with people who are unable to communicate verbally. Numerous cases are presented in an accessible way, highlighting that by taking time to understand an individual's perspective and sensory experience, we can gain access to their world and thus to a meaningful connection with them. Giving people a sense of self through non-verbal communication can alleviate stress and thus reduce behaviours that challenge us, instead providing opportunities for positive interactions.

Speech & Language therapy in practice

With over thirty years of experiences, Phoebe's enthusiasm is clear from beginning to end.

The Frontline Of Learning Disability

In short, this is a wonderful book - it challenges current thinking, it makes you want to go straight up to the next person you meet who has communication difficulties and try out the approaches she suggests. It is early days, but if evidence can be produced to support her theories this may just come to be regarded as a book that changed the world.

Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists

This book reminds us of the 'intuitive' in therapy. Intensive Interaction is all about affect, about interpersonal contact and about affect, about valuing the person's communicative attempts.This book explains simply and effectively how use of imitation and repetition of body language, sounds and movements might change the focus of attention in an adult with autism/learning difficulties from a self-centred to an other-centred one.

Human Givens Journal

This book is about how we get in touch with people who, in the words of the author, "are separated from us because they cannot tell us what they want, or perhaps more importantly, how they feel". It is a beautifully written endorsement of the universal importance of emotional needs such as intimacy and social connection, irrespective of an individual's ability to communicate with others. It introduces communication as a prerequisite to all intimacy, and makes the point that communication at "deeper" levels is not verbal but physical, tactile or visual: a look, a nod, a smile - a feeling of safety with another person. In this respect, this book has applicability and value beyond those for whom it was written this book's strength is its emphasis on improving the quality of life - identifying and meeting needs - of people who are in one way or another isolated by their disability.

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