A big thank you to Pavilion Publishing for allowing us to include this case study.

This series of short films shows an extended conversation  between Phoebe Caldwell (DSc, Expert Responsive Communication Practitioner who has worked with autistic people for 45 years) and Janet Gurney (BA, PGCT, Director of Training for Us in a Bus, a service based in Surrey that supports adults and children with profound and multiple learning difficulties and autism).

  • In the first half of this clip, Phoebe is looking for ways of catching Gabriel’s attention. Gabriel is very interested in vibration, but note that both his and Phoebe’s attention becomes focussed on the vibration unit rather than on each other. This is one of the difficulties that can come up when using equipment.
  • At the end of the clip, Phoebe blows in Gabriel’s ear, as during the break for lunch, when the camera was not recording, she has seen him half-inflate a balloon and then let the air out in his ear. Gabriel shows he can ‘generalise’: he knows he will get a response if he flicks his string, so he bangs the sink and turns back to her to see if she will respond.’
  • Look for the physical feedback the person is giving themselves. This is what will have meaning for them.
  • Respond to the person’s sounds, movements and rhythms rather than copying them exactly, and respond particularly to how they are “talking” to themselves.