in the classroom (1)
Sensory stories are excellent vehicles for delivering whole-school or
class thematic topics in an interesting, exciting and sympathetic manner.
Books such as Odyssey Now by Nicola Grove and Keith Park are largely aimed at those with SLD and present an excellent opportunity for a mixed SLD/PMLD/CLDD group of any age from key stage 1 upwards.
Park has also published versions of classic plays, poems and novels which can be easily adapted for sensory stories, especially if one uses his call and response method of delivery (Park, 2010).
The general principles of delivering a sensory story are much the same as any other story for those with learning difficulties and can be defined within the ten essential elements of storytelling:
- Give it a beginning;
- It should have meaning to the participants;
- Use repetition;
- Keep the actual story/episode short;
- Use all and every means of communication;
- Use language selectively;
- Introduce sequences of dramatic events;
- Make it exciting and dynamic;
- Build in (and allow) as much audience
participation as possible;
- Give it an ending.
Once devised, the same story should be repeated weekly for at least half a term (and probably longer). Children have a real opportunity to become familiar with the story and can practice their sequencing and turn-taking, as well as their anticipatory and memory skills – the basic elements of communication.
Grove, N. and Park, K. (1996), Odyssey Now, London:
Grove, N. and Park, K. (1999), Romeo and Juliet. A Multi-sensory Approach, London: Bag Books.
Grove, N. and Park, K. (2001), Social Cognition through Drama and Literature for People with Learning Disabilities, London: Jessica Kingsley.
Park, K. (2010), Interactive Storytelling. Developing Inclusive Stories for Children and Adults, Bicester: Speechmark.