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The Sensory Story Project

Image of silhouette of little girl interracting with a blue light

Sensory exploration helps children with additional needs understand the world around them.

‘Sensory Story’ Project Nears Deadline

We were excited to find a  ‘KickStarter’ project, urgently needing last minute donations, that will help children with disabilities enjoy stories. Joanna Grace is trying to raise money to write ten stories that can made available to children and parents at a lower cost than existing resources. Using Kickstarter is a new way of raising money where the people and organisations who contribute get something tangible in return. See below for the awards at different levels of donation.

Using Multi Sensory Objects in Story Telling

Our own son Joe has used similar resources at his school, where the stories used are from Tac Pac. These are bags of different objects that can help to bring a story to life using the senses, a whistle may be blown for a train for example. We have also encountered ‘Bag Books‘ that are actual books created for children with profound learning disabilities.

Sensory Stories Video

 

The very best explanation of what sensory stories are can be explained by watching Joanne in this video:

With only a few days left Joanne is hoping that a final push will achieve the goal of £5000. Please share this page to help her in her efforts.

Joanne explains the need for Sensory Stories:

The brain needs to receive information from the senses in order to develop. As children we reach out to grab things, turn our heads to watch toys, gurgle in response to music, and as we do these things neural pathways are laid down in the brain. As we repeat the experiences these pathways grow more defined.

Through accessing a variety of sensory experiences connections are created: hand eye coordination is one of these connections and from it stems a whole host of other developmental achievements.

Individuals with profound disabilities and sensory impairments may not be able to access these valuable experiences for themselves. Their senses might not ‘notice’ every day stimuli and so require something more focused. They might not be able to physically access stimuli and so they rely on someone else to facilitate the experiences.

Sensory stories use the five famous senses combined with a distiller narrative to tell a story. Sensory stories are a fun way of providing a range of sensory experiences. They can also be used to: support communication; help individuals express preferences; and to promote socialisation.

Image of Joanna Grace in woodland looking up at the trees.

Joanna Grace has extensive experience in creating sensory stories

The Sensory Story Project aims to create such stories, it only has until the 20th of May to find backers. Backing is a lot of fun as you get to choose a reward in exchange for your good deed: rewards range from sensory stories, to guides on sensory learning or the opportunity to receive a smell in the post!

Sensory stories are fun to share with anyone, but if sharing them with someone with profound and multiple learning disabilities they’re best shared 1:1 and ideally suited to being presented on a Trabasack.

More information is available on the projects page, and we hope you take a look:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sensorystory/sensory-stories

 

Kickstarter Benefits of Donations

Many people are using kickstarter as a new way of raising money because you can pledge different amounts of money and get increasing benefits, gifts or discounts in return.If you are able to contribute to the fundraiser there are benefits for each level of donation:

  • Pledge £1 or more

    9 backers

    A personal thank you email from the author/creator and an electronic guide explaining why sensory stimulation is so important. Your name listed as a backer on my website.

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
  • Pledge £5 or more

    14 backers

    Your choice of two of the following electronic guides. * What makes great sensory stimuli? * How do I share a sensory story? * How can I use a sensory story in school? * Why is sensory stimulation important? Plus your name on website and a personal thank you email from the author/creator.

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
  • Pledge £10 or more

    14 backers

    A single smell experience, plus three of the following electronic guides: * What makes great sensory stimuli? * How do I share a sensory story? * How can I use a sensory story in school? * Why is sensory stimulation important? And your name on the website and a personal thank you email from the author/creator.

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
  • Pledge £15 or more

    3 backers

    A random sensory experience accompanying a line from a story, (think of this as an excerpt from a story). Plus your choice of electronic guides, your name on the website, and a personal thank you email from the author/creator.

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
    Add £2 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £17 or more

    4 backers

    A Sensory Snout Sensory Story Project mascot. Please see our Facebook page for more information. We have a growing menagerie of mascots,each will be hand made by me and everyone will be different. I hope to give you choices concerning colour and scent – yes scent, the mascots provide a tickly touch experience and are also stuffed with cotton infused with essential oils so they’re a fragrant little experience. I’ll put more details on the Facebook page as the project progresses.

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
    Add £2 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £20 or more

    12 backers

    A unique contribution on the topic of Sensory Stories for your blog/magazine/newspaper. Plus your choice of electronic guides, your name on the website, and a personal thank you email from the author/creator.

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
  • Pledge £25 or more

    6 backers

    A sensory smorgasbord: a set of five sensory experiences. (This is not a whole story, but it will be a lot of fun). Plus your choice of electronic guides, your name on the website and a personal thank you email from the author/creator.

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
    Add £2 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £30 or more

    1 backer

    A T-shirt with the unique Sensory Stories logo. The logo is currently under creation but is the word ‘Story’ spelt out with a nose as the S, a hand as the T, an eye as the O, an ear as the R and a tongue as the Y, so great way to share the sensory nature of these stories. I’ll post the logo on the Facebook page as soon as it’s in a suitable state. Colour choices and size options will be sent to backers prior to the rewards being posted. [Note, unfortunately these will not be seamless T-shirts, if you need seemless please get in contact and I’ll try my best].

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
    Add £4 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £40 or more

    0 backers

    A Sensory Story with guidance on how to source the supporting stimuli. (This story won’t have the stimuli with it, but they will be easy for you to find, you may even have them at home already and just not have noticed them!) Plus your choice of electronic guides, your name on the website and a personal thank you email from the author/creator

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
    Add £1 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £50 or more

    8 backers

    A boxed (resourced) Sensory Story, or your choice of a previous reward. Plus your choice of electronic guides, your name on the website and a personal thank you email from the author/creator.

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
    Add £7 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £60 or more

    1 backer

    2 Sensory Stories with guidance on how to source the supporting stimuli, or your choice of a previous reward. (These stories won’t have stimuli with them, but they will be easy for you to find, you may even have them at home already and just not have noticed them!) Plus your choice of electronic guides, your name on the website and a personal thank you email from the author/creator

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
    Add £2 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £80 or more

    1 backer

    2 boxed (resourced) Sensory Story, or your choice of a previous reward. Plus your choice of electronic guides, your name on the website and a personal thank you email from the author/creator

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
    Add £15 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £100 or more

    2 backers

    Personalisation. The opportunity to have a story personalised with your details or the details of a loved one. The story will be personalised with names and locations of your choice. [You have the option to choose one of the previous rewards instead]. Depending on the story there may also be other opportunities, for example to put in favourite colours, foods or animals. You will receive the story when it is complete, along with guidance on how to source the stimuli. (This story won’t have the stimuli with it, but they will be easy for you to find, you may even have them at home already and just not have noticed them!) You will also receive your choice of electronic guides, your name on the website and a personal thank you email from the author/creator.

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
    Add £7 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £150 or more

    0 backers

    A talk about Sensory Stories to an audience of your choice. [Happy to travel to any location but will need transport costs.] You have the option to choose one of the previous rewards instead. Plus a Sensory Story and guidance on how to source the supporting stimuli. (This story won’t have the stimuli with it, but they will be easy for you to find, you may even have them at home already and just not have noticed them!) Plus: your choice of electronic guides, your name on the website and a personal thank you email from the author/creator.

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
  • Pledge £200 or more

    2 backers

    The whole caboodle! [You have the option to choose one of the previous rewards instead]. The complete library of boxed Sensory Stories, resourced with stimuli and guidance on delivery, plus a complete set of electronic guides, your name on the website and a personal thank you email from the author/creator.

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
    Add £15 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £400 or more

    0 backers

    A talk about Sensory Stories to an audience of your choosing. Transport included for anywhere within the UK. [You have the option to choose one of the previous rewards instead]. Plus a Sensory Story and guidance on how to source the supporting stimuli, (This story won’t have the stimuli with it, but they will be easy for you to find, you may even have them at home already and just not have noticed them!) You will also get a complete set of electronic guides, your name on the website and a personal thank you email from the author/creator.

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
  • Pledge £750 or more

    0 backers

    The opportunity to co-author/create a story with the author/creator. You can contribute story ideas, experiment with stimuli, add personalisation including names of loved ones. I am happy to share the authoring experience with anyone of any age and any ability. This reward would particularly suit an individual with PMLD (profound and multiple learning disabilities) You will be credited on the story and will receive a boxed resourced copy of the story once it is complete. Plus all the electronic guides, your name on the website and a thank you email from the author/creator.

    Estimated delivery: Jul 2013

Time is running out!

With only a few days left Joanne is hoping that a final push will achieve the goal of £5000. Please contribute if you can and share this page to help her in her efforts.

Snuggin Go Too – the versatile support for your child.

Snuggin Go Too – the versatile support for your child.

The Snuggin Go Too in Action

If you have a child who suffers from health conditions or a disability which means they have difficulty holding their head up, Snuggin Go Too is the answer. Our friend and online retailer DisabledGear.com has decided to import this product after demand from parents on a Special Needs Equipment Swap Group on Facebook.

The Snuggin Go Too, a new product for the UK market, is an extremely supportive infant positioner. As the picture shows, the Snuggin Go Too is designed to support your child’s head in position to stop them from slumping forward, which can be extremely dangerous for disabled children. Trabasack creator’s Duncan and Clare Edwards have a son with Dravet Syndrome, and this ‘slumping’ often caused thier son to have seizures.

With the Snuggin Go Too your child’s head is supported fully which allows for improved posture, comfort, safety and of course, breathing.

It may look like a simple design but in fact the Snuggin Go Too is very intricately designed to support your individual child. Its memory foam neck and shoulder support system glides in a way which allows customisation to your child’s height and it also gently pushes the chest area forward which allows the head to sit neutrally in any chosen seating product including high chairs and car seats. The Snuggin Go Too is also the only infant positioning support which comes with an optional leg rest which can be beneficial in stopping your child from slouching or slipping down their seat.

Before and After shots show exactly how much benefit the Snuggin Go Too provides

The Snuggin Go Too is fully adjustable for children from 12 months up to 5 years which means it can be great for older children with additional needs. It is especially beneficial for children with a range of different health problems and conditions. If your child has airway difficulties, this support is essential as it works to keep your child’s airway in the neutral position. It is also supports children with scoliosis as it can help improve the position of the spine which in turn can help to minimise the respiratory problems that come from extreme spinal curvature. Further lumbar support can be added for those who also have lower spine curvature.

The Snuggin Go Too is also a great option for children who favour holding their head to one particular side (torticollis). The head support keeps the head cradles securely which helps maintain its shape and reduces risk of flat spots (plagiocephaly). It can also be used for children who wear reshaping helmets or who have conditions such as hydrocephalus to support their head position when they’re using seating products.

The Snuggin Go Too is a great way of involving your child in all family meal and fun times. You can use it in the high chair so you can comfortably and securely enjoy meals together and retro-fit strollers are available for children who are wheelchair dependent.

The item is extremely user friendly and can make a big difference to your child’s daily life. It is available in two colours from DisabledGear.com , Snuggin Go Too infant head support will really help the comfort of your child.

This video shows how easy your Snuggin Go Too is to clean and reassemble:

Creating a Sensory Garden

How to make a sensory garden

We have created a small area as a sensory garden for our son, Joe who has dravet syndrome. We have used wind chimes and windmills, a colourful flag from a carboot sale and some streamers hanging from the trees. We also added a small water feature, a pump in a wooden barrel creates a pleasant rippling noise for Joe.

Our son joe laying on a trabasack play tray

Our son Joe enjoying the sensory garden

To find out about suitable plants for a sensory garden, I asked Garden designer and restoration specialist Charlie Bloom for some ideas on the most approriate plants to choose:

Sensory plants for any garden

A garden by definition is a place to excite and satisfy the senses each can be stimulated by using plants that not only look beautiful, but also feel and smell as such. With that in mind, I have made a list of some of my favourites that are fully hardy and will enhance any sensory garden planting scheme.

Touch and feel

There are a number of plants that have soft, velvety foliage. Stachys byzantia and Salvia argentia have woolly sliver leaves, known affectionately as “lambs ears”, these plants are purely tactile, but both adorn themselves with tall flower spikes during the summer.

 

Phlomis fruticosa is a bit more conservative in its wooliness, but none the less is soft to the touch and has garish yellow flowers during the summer.

sensory plants for a sensory garden. Atribution http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Stan_Shebs

Phlomis Fructicosa

Sensory grass plant attribution of image, gratitude to http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Miya.m

Miscanthus sinensis: “is a graceful swaying grass”

In contrast, Miscanthus sinensis, is a graceful swaying grass, that bursts with silky flowers that rustle gently in the breeze.

 

 

 

 

Aroma

Plants have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal qualities, many as aromatics and thus add another dimension to the garden, as plants that can awake our sense of smell, an essential  in a sensory garden.

Monarda didyma, also known as Bergamot, has a heady aromatic scent, with the benefit of many heads of scarlet pompom flowers in the summer.

Lavender a sensory plant known fro its aromatic smell

Lavender, a sensory plant that is hardy and very common in gardens.

Lavender has been long associated with relaxation and rest and the oil is harvested to add to a myriad of products. Helychrysum or Curry Plant has a distinct aroma of curry spice and has a burst of yellow flowers. With all aromatics and herbs, by rubbing the leaves and stalks between the fingers, the oils are released and the full power released.

The extra dimension of taste can be provided by all fruits, vegetables and herbs, aromatics like Mints, Rosemary and Chives.

Chives, are scented, easy to grow and can be used for cooking too.

Rosemarinus officinales (Rosemary), Mentha spicata (Mint) and Allium schoenoprasum (chives) are also good choices.”

 

Some care should be taken with aromatic plants if your child has epilepsy. There have been incidences of ‘plant induced seizures’ particularly with rosemary. Something to bear in mind!

 

 

In the next post I will show some photos of the physical and homemade sensory toys we have added to our our sensory garden.

 

 

Update

As this post has been so popular we asked Charlie for some more ideas for planting a sensory garden:

Sensory Planting: Multi-Sensory Experiences

Many plants are used simply for their colour and abundance of flowers, however there are many plants that can provide a multi-sensory experience and thus can make a garden or even a small raised bed into a place of great enjoyment and learning. Stimulating the senses of sight, smell, sound and feel. Providing colour and texture to a garden with the added advantage of depth of fragrance and edibility.

The Multi-Sensory Plants

Day Lilly, a wondrous plant that produces long spikes with large beautiful flowers, that are edible and have a sweet taste, they look stunning in any garden as they are hardy and produce flowers for the entire summer. The seed pods rattle in the autumn.

sensory planting

Beautiful Day Lilly. Flowers abundantly through the summer, likes plenty of water. Photo Credit SandtoGlass

 

smelling sensory plants

Oregano, lovely scent, good for pizza too! Photo Credit: Anenome Projectors

Oregano, a heavily scented edible herb, with an abundance of purple/pink flowers in summer. The leaves can be rubbed between the fingers to release the scent and can also be tasted and used in cookery.

 

Thyme, another small aromatic herb, very hardy and has hard woody stems that can be broken to realise the scent. It is also tactile in the sense it is like a little shrub and can be patted and squeezed without much damage done.

 

Chives are a member of the allium/onion family and have sprays of purple pompoms in the late spring, the leaves are highly scented especially when you squeeze them and can be eaten in handfuls.

 

Rosemary, a highly aromatic herb and one that displays many purple flowers in late spring, larger shrubs can be shaken with care by the wooden stems with will rustle and release some of the scent.

 

Nasturtiums, are easily grown from seed and will put on a flaming display of flowers throughout the summer; they are also aromatic and edible and can be cropped and eaten in the bucket load.

 

Bio for Charlie Bloom

Garden designer and restoration specalist. Having restored the formal garden at Sir John Mills old estate, I moved on to work in the design and restoration of historic and country gardens, with special interest in Cottage style, herbaceous borders and potagers, I now write a bit too. Please ask any questions on my blog about garden design and restoration in Kent and East Sussex. If you have any questions at all about choosing plants for a sensory garden please tweet me at @bloomsblogs or email me at the address on my website.
For more information of sensory gardens we recommend this book: [easyazon-block align=”right” asin=”1849052786″ locale=”uk”]

 

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