To celebrate Deafblind Awareness Week, our Seashell Sensory team have crafted a series of blogs, delving into different aspects of understanding and supporting someone with deafblindness.

This blog, written by Advanced Practitioner MSI –Sensory Course, Debra Lally and MSI Teacher, Liz Shawe explains the benefits of using sensory stories.

“We all learn from our senses every day. Sensory stories can be a great way to support children and young people with special educational needs. For young people with multi-sensory impairments (MSI) the world can be a daunting place. A young person with multi-sensory impairments or physical disabilities may face practical barriers to this learning: they can’t see the picture; they can’t reach the toy. Young people who experience sensory processing difficulties as part of their condition can struggle with sensory processing and may need support in learning to regulate their reaction to sensory stimuli. Sensory stories are a fun way of providing this support and of simply sharing a story together in a fun situation.

Sensory stories use repetition to build the young person’s confidence as they learn from stimuli. Through helping to build their confidence with encountering new stimuli. There is a security to be found in familiarity.

Sensory stories give individuals with MSI, who do not necessarily communicate with language, the opportunity to share in the journey of a story by appealing to senses beyond language alone. As professionals, we can also observe their reactions to build a picture of their sensory preferences, which can be used to personalise their needs and wants.

At Seashell we use sensory stories to help students to prepare for and reflect on specific experiences, for example a trip to the park. We also use them to teach new communication skills, by providing a wide range of motivating sensory experiences; from here we can give students the opportunity to express whether they want more or to finish. Whether it’s in a group or on a 1:1 basis, sharing a sensory story always benefits from an attentive and responsive storyteller who is able to interpret the communication attempts of the listener and just enjoy spending quality time with them.”