Posts Tagged ‘learning disability’
Launch of New book: how to create your own sensory stories for children and teens with special educational needs
We’re really pleased to share the fantastic news that Joanna Grace, who we have worked with on several occasions and backed her Kickstarter campaign last year, has a book out very soon! Joanna is the name behind The Sensory Story Project and has done fantastic work for many years developing her project and her works for a wide range of people with profound and multiple learning difficulties.
We have talked about Sensory Stories in depth previously but couldn’t resist the opportunity to show off how amazing they are once again, especially as this book is due out in just a few days.
Sensory Stories Kickstarter
Back in May 2013, The Sensory Story Project successfully funded their Kickstarter campaign, gaining over £5,000 in funding. This money was put towards the development of a range of sensory stories that could be adapted and used in different environments for different disabled adults and children. The Kickstarter was a huge success and allowed Joanna to continue her work and keep writing and developing the stories which have provided so much for so many people.
We love that sensory stories are a fun, social way of enjoying storytelling that can be enjoyed by the whole family or classroom and that, if used with a bit of knowhow, can open up communication for people with profound disabilities. Joanna recommends sharing the stories on a one to one basis for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, and adds how well the stories are suited to being presented on a Trabasack.
The Sensory Story Project: The Book
The Sensory Stories for Children and Teens with Special Educational Needs: A Practical Guide book has been designed as a practical guide and is to be published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers on the 28th of October (Amazon are currently open for advanced orders). The book begins with a simple explanation of what sensory stories are and expands considerably on this point, providing an indispensable guide for practitioners. Joanna provides an overview of the research backing for the stories, looking at the importance of sensory stimulation and narrative for cognitive development and inclusion. There are chapters on how the stories can be used to support individuals with a wide range of needs, including those with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities, Sensory Processing Disorder, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Learning Disabilities, Communication difficulties, Memory problems, physical impairments and mental health difficulties. Joanna gives clear guidance on how to tell the stories to maximise their benefits for your story experiencer and gives useful ways to record progress and achievement. And of course the book has five new stories in it which should suit a range of interests and ages. Each story is supported with six lesson plans for schools who want to use the stories to facilitate learning, or for people to dip into if they want to do activities following on from sharing a story.
Sensory stories require imagination and are designed to delight the senses in a simple and effective way, as this example shows:
Rave Reviews already published
Although the book won’t be hitting the book shop shelves for a week or two, a few lucky folk have had the chance to take a sneak peak and positive reviews are already out there.
Flo Longhorn (Principal Consultant in Multisensory & special education author, great grandmother and beekeeper, and fellow backer of The Sensory Story Project) provided the forward for the book, saying in it: “This book tells a sensory story. It is for the seeker of sensory knowledge, looking for substantial ideas with which to plunge into new worlds of sensory story telling. Each chapter offers a wealth of ideas and knowledge including themes and ideas that could be placed at the core of a curriculum for special learners.”
James Gordon, an autism advocate and parent, has described the book as ‘vital reading for every special needs parent and teacher’. Gill Warren, the English coordinator at Sir Charles Parsons School, which provides care and education for pupils with severe learning difficulties and associated physical disabilities described it as ‘Take a pinch of glitter, a peck of spice, a splash of water, pebbles, a torch and noise makers; add the guiding spell of this book and we are ready. Through inspirational ideas, clearly and simply explained, Jo shows how everyone, including those with the most profound needs, can share and learn through the deep magic of stories. I wish this book had been around years ago when I first began teaching students with profound learning difficulties.’
With reviews so positive already published, we’re sure this book will have a profound influence on the wider special educational needs community.
Sensory Stories and Trabasack
We have worked with Joanna on several occasions and had the opportunity to hear all about how effective Sensory Stories can be. As mentioned above sensory stories are best delivered one on one allowing the individual enjoying the story to interact and get involved with the story on their own terms. The picture above shows the Princess Esme story (one of the ones we backed the creation of) being told on a Trabasack – a perfect fit!
We are really looking forward to reading and using the book with our son Joe ‘Sensory Stories for Children and Teens with Special Educational Needs: A Practical Guide’ and are sure it will be a big success.
Personal Message from Joanna
I am so excited that this book is being published. The initial aim of the Sensory Story Project was to create five stories. Without the project backers these stories could never have been created. When I finally finished them I wrote to all the backers liking their donation of funds to the project to a penny thrown in a wishing well. The project backers are an amazing group of people and organisation and I think we all have the same hopes and wishes for inclusion. I wondered in that message where the ripples from those coins might spread, and over the past year I’ve been staggered to find out just how far they roll. The Sensory Story Project has enabled so many people to be trained in how to use sensory stories, from Early Years Practitioners to people working in Adult Care. Sensory Stories to support postural care have been created and are being used as far away as Hong Kong. Practitioners from around the globe, most recently Portugal and New Zealand have been in touch to get support and advice for the people they support. In the summer Kensington Palace commissioned The Sensory Story Project to create a sensory tour of the King’s State Apartments, opening up the palace for people with learning disabilities, dementia and mental health difficulties. The Sensory Story Project has also been working with people who specialise in dementia care to create sensory life stories for people as they begin their journey into dementia. I couldn’t pick a favourite thing that’s happened since the launch, every day I wake up delighted that this is what I get to do. Certainly some of the most moving moments have been hearing feedback from people who have used the stories and opened up communication with individuals with profound disabilities. Next year I’ll be delivering training around the UK, I’m looking forward to each date. Sharing the stage with Flo Longhorn and Richard Hirstwood will be real pinch me moments for me, and in August I’m doing a whole weekend at a residential retreat centre, fabulously the Quakers are subsidising this course so that delegates will be able to have their bed and breakfast paid for and attend the whole course for a little over £200 I’m hoping that a real mix of people will attend, I might even bring my new little assistant – he’s proving very useful assessing what makes a high quality sight experience.
Joanna has lots more information and many free resources at her website http://jo.element42.org/ Highly recommended!
Here we have part 2 of our recommended apps for children with Dravet Syndrome.
Each app is simple and easy to use and most importantly, packed with fun features and interactive games to not only entertain, but educate at the same time.
In our first blog post we covered the pre-school classroom range of educational apps, along with some fun “make it yourself” games and the Splat the Clowns and Peeping Musicians targeting/hand-eye coordination apps.
In this post we will cover a collection of cheery and traditional interactive story books, nursery rhyme apps for rhythm and speech development, and basic flashcard-type apps.
The Kidztory Book Collection
The Kidztory storybook collection includes a number of traditional fairy tales and stories brought to life for the iPad and iPod. These interactive books are a fantastic way to share all the stories you loved as a child with your own children, and each “book” is beautifully illustrated and narrated, to provide a truly joyful experience for your child.
Grasshopper Learning Apps
Each app in the Grasshopper range provides a fun and educational approach to the basics of pre-school learning. They are also highly-customisable, allowing the parent to change almost every setting and feature in the app through a special settings panel. This allows you to add and remove items such as pictures and words, record your own voice and provide a bespoke learning experience for your child. If you child finds it easier to learn and understand when provided with items and voices familiar to them, then these apps are ideal.
Special Numbers, Special Words and Special Stories
The “Special” apps created by Special iApps developers all base their design on a straight-forward, uncluttered learning environment, that is immediate to the child and easy to navigate. The Special Numbers, Words and Stories apps cover 3 main learning areas; Special Numbers introduces your child to early number skills through a variety of set activities such as counting, matching, ordering, comparing and selecting.
Special Words is designed to help your child to recognise early vocabulary in written words and will encourage them to vocalise whilst also improving their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Lastly, the Special Stories app allows you and your child to create and share stories with text, sound and pictures / photographs. The simple interface is suitable for children and adults with poor motor skills, hearing impairment and general additional educational needs.
Nursery Rhymes and Princess Fairy Tale Maker
The Duck Duck Moose collection of children’s nursery rhyme apps are a fantastic way to help your child with rhythm and speech development through the use of traditional songs and music. Each rhyme app is filled with interactive pages, original illustrations and are sure to thrill and captivate and capture your child’s imagination. There are currently three nursery rhyme interactive story book titles available from Duck Duck Moose; Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, Old MacDonald and Baa Baa Black Sheep.
The Princess Fairy Tale Maker allows your child to make their very own fairy tale using a huge collection of animated backgrounds, animated “stickers” and almost 30 different crayons and colouring pencils. The stickers can be moved about and recorded, to make movies, and your child can add their own voice to create a truly fun fairy tale experience!
Different Roads to Learning Apps
The Different Roads to Learning range of apps are especially designed for children with additional learning needs, such as autism, Downs Syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
They cover many of the basic educational subjects, along with general communication issues and development.
Each app is fully-customisable and also keeps a record and statistics of your child’s usage and achievement within the app. This is a great way to give them independence to play and learn, and allows you to analyse and monitor their progress at a later date in your own time.
Toddler Flashcards, Counting and Animals
The iTots range of toddler apps are as simple as you can get, but with this simplicity comes ease of use for little ones with additional learning needs. The interface of each app is clean and clear, and uses bright and fuss-free images of everyday items that your child will immediately recognise.
The Toddler Flashcards game is a basic flashcards app that provides your child with images of everyday items and provides the word written underneath and also verbally. You can also choose from a number of languages, including English.
The Counting and Animals apps are similar to the Flashcards app, and offer endless interactive fun if your child prefers specific subjects (such as numbers or animals). The game will ask your child very simple questions which can be answered via touch screen, and rewards them with every correct answer they give.
Want more? Check out our series of apps recommended by Specialist Education and Technology Trainer Ian Bean.
Charity Events Calendar and Special Days in 2013
Netbuddy Launches 2013 Special Needs Awareness Calendar
Marking the events which matter to you or your child is important and many of the illnesses and disabilities out there are marked by an awareness week or day. These events are designed to make more people aware of a certain condition as well as drumming up much needed funding for research and supporting people with these conditions. Netbuddy has put together an exclusive charity events calendar for 2013 naming it the Special Needs Awareness Calendar Download it by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page. through which you can find out the dates relating to any condition which might be close to your heart or you’re interested in fundraising for.
In February we can look out for:
Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week (7th-14th February)
Autism Sunday (10th February)
National Eating Disorder Week (11th – 17th February)
International Asperger’s Day (18th February)
Rare Diseases Day (28th February)
This is just one month and many of these events may be relevant to you and you can see this and more via Netbuddy’s fantastic calendar.
Who is Netbuddy?
Netbuddy is a fantastic resource for parents, carers, educators and any other professionals involved with people living with learning disabilities and autism. It brings together hundreds of resources from like-minded individuals who have experiences of both. In their own words “Netbuddy is all about pooling the vast expertise of parents, carers and learning disability professionals. It’s a place for sharing advice and ideas. A place for overcoming problems and celebrating successes within a community that understands.”
With this brilliant sentiment it’s clear to see why they’ve put together this invaluable calendar and it’s a great place to start if you’re looking to organise a fundraising event or support a charity relating to a specific condition. Their website is here
A Closer Look at the Calendar
Every month of the year has been covered and there are single day events, weeks and event months dedicated to single conditions which may be of interest. For example, April has been dubbed Autism Awareness Month and there are many special events and days organised throughout the month to support and raise awareness about the developmental disability.
There are events focusing on single conditions such as Dyspraxia Awareness Week in September as well as those that are more general including Jeans for Genes day in October and National Allergy Week in April. There are many events throughout the year dedicated to Autism and learning disabilities in particular as these are two areas that Netbuddy focuses on.
This calendar is a fantastic resource for anybody involved with adults or children living with disabilities and can be used effectively as a learning tool or to start conversation.
- International Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day 2015
- Six Neck and Head Support Options for your Child
- Gripping Aids for Children
- Sensory Stories for Children and Teens – The Book!
- What to Pack for your Child’s Hospital Stay
- How to make your own Sensory Wall
- Homemade Mirror Cube Sensory Toy
- Join Trabasack and Active Hands at Kidz in the Middle
- Sensory Play at Naidex National 2014
- Festive Christmas Apps for Kids