Accessibility statement

Intensive Interaction for children and young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities: INTERACT trial


Children and young people with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) are some of the most vulnerable young people in our society. Children and young people with PMLD have difficulty communicating and typically rely on non-verbal methods of communication. Intensive Interaction is an intervention approach used to enable more effective communication between people with PMLD and their environments. The approach uses pre-verbal communication techniques to build a relationship between the person with PMLD and a communication partner with the view of improving communication skills. Despite a limited evidence base, it is commonly used in schools and other settings. Practitioners who support children and young people with PMLD within educational setting, as well as parents/carers, will be trained to deliver Intensive Interaction. This research is one of the first large scale randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to understand the impact of Intensive Interaction on children and young people's communication, education and quality of life. 

The Study

INTERACT is a multi-setting pragmatic, two-arm cluster randomised controlled trial of an 18-week programme of Intensive Interaction in addition to usual care versus usual care alone for children and young people with PMLD including an internal pilot, economic and process evaluations.

We aim to recruit 330 children and young people from 66 educational settings across the United Kingdom.

Staff within educational settings as well as parents/carers will be trained to act as communication partners for the children/young people with PMLD. Intensive Interaction sessions should be integrated into everyday life but will take place at least once per day the child/young person attends their educational setting and as often as possible at home. The intervention will be delivered for at least 18 weeks.

Data will be collected from educational settings as well as parents/carers at baseline, 32 and 52 weeks.

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Funders(s) NIHR HTA
Sponsor: University of Kent
Start Date: March 2023
End Date: June 2027


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