Brotherly love

One of the biggest differences since we started Intensive Interaction with Henry has been his increased ability and desire to play with his older brother. Although there are only sixteen months between them in chronological age, the huge developmental gap has meant that shared activities have been difficult to find. Henry has always been keen to play with Ned, but his lack of ability to express this in a way clear and  forceful enough to get his brother’s attention has meant that chances slip by. Now he can demand a variety of games, he does so frequently. The video below  is a short extract from footage shot a few nights ago which shows how much easier they both find it to play. Not only has Henry learnt to ask for what he wants more effectively but also he responds to cues from his play partner rather than simply issuing demands. And Ned is learning about tuning in to his brother and following his lead – all great Intensive Interaction strategies.

The more challenging side of this progress is that Henry has become more demanding of attention at all times, to the extent that he finds it difficult to cope if, for example, I am talking to another adult, or Ned is engrossed in DS or iPhone when they are in the back of the car. At the moment his reaction is to shout ‘stop’ repeatedly, or to lash out physically, and whereas I can (most of the time) ignore the behaviour or tell him ‘no’ calmly, it is much more difficult for an eleven year old who is being hit and pinched. Any suggestions would be welcome.


4 thoughts on “Brotherly love

  1. Rosie Graham

    Hi, this is very similar to the level of interaction which Blake now seeks from his older brothers, Adam and Francis (Blake is 8, and has done a lot of intensive interaction work at school and we have tried to do the same at home).

    We also grapple with the issues of how to give Adam and Francis a break when they are tired or have homework to do or simply don’t want to horse around any more! Blake likes quite physical games (piggybacks are a fave atm) so it does get tiring. We are having some success with letting him have a good play then doing “one more time, then no more times” and being quite strict about the “no more time”. I think it is working – he indicated to one of his brothers that he would like a piggyback at bedtime last night, but when we said calmly that there were no more piggybacks, because it was bedtime, he shouted “Piggyback tomorrow” and then got into bed calmly.

    “Piggyback tomorrow” is quite a sophisticated level of verbal communication for Blake, so we were very pleased.

  2. movingbeyondthelabel Post author

    Thanks Rosie – this has reminded me that we should use the ‘one more then finish’ strategy more often, as Henry usually responds quite well to it. The aggression in the car usually happens when we’re talking, or when he’s annoyed about something else, like being stuck in a traffic jam – but occasionally he will just thump Ned out of the blue – he very rarely asks him for games in that situation, so it’s not as if Ned is refusing to play with him. The fact that Ned is nearly always on his DS or phone in the car has made us wonder whether it’s attention-seeking, but I guess it could be something else. We make him turn the sound off or wear earphones, so it’s not the noise. At the moment we swop seats if it gets very bad, so I sit next to Henry in the back, when he is usually all over me – which again makes me wonder if he is just seeking attention from Ned. Of course this isn’t a great strategy – he gets to sit next to Mum by hitting his brother – so we need to think of something else. I could of course sit there all the time, but car journeys are one of the few times that Justin and I get to talk!

  3. Bright Side of Life

    I am fortunate that my son loves travelling in the car (I guess looking out the window is like having a moving TV!) and he doesn’t really want to engage with anyone. I am sure that it must be very frustrating for Ned to get picked on in the car, although I have to say it is really awesome to hear that Henry is more engaged and keen to interact with his brother when it comes to playing games.

  4. movingbeyondthelabel Post author

    Oh Henry loves it too – for same reasons I think. We tried an experiment yesterday where Ned didn’t take anything into the car and tried to engage with Henry.. H wasn’t having any of it! He didn’t do any hitting but still complained if we tried to talk to Ned. I’m wondering whether the talking (and possibly the tiny noises of the electronic devices when N is using them) is disturbing his quiet contemplation of the landscape!! Going on a longer trip today, so will observe again…


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