Jo SEN Leader Magazine Issue 5

20 | Toolkit

Handout – Using sensory stories

Children with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) may rely on others to provide them with the sensory stimulation that is vital to their cognitive development.

Challenge pupils to create their own stories using the handout 'Creating a sensory story' in the Toolkit. Increase vocabulary by asking pupils to search for words to describe sensory experiences.

Eating is a very stimulating sensory experience. For children who find touch experiences difficult to tolerate, eating can be traumatic. Children experiencing difficulties eating can sometimes be helped by having the opportunity to interact with different touch experiences (especially the wet sticky ones). Doing this within a storytelling context can make it fun. The predictable nature of the story supports the child in feeling safe.

The more the senses are involved in learning, the more the brain is involved; quite literally more of it is used in the learning process. Learning in a sensory way improves everyone’s chances of remembering. So, if you’re studying for an exam, or if you have teenagers revising, make sure they’re using different coloured pens. What about having a few drops of scented oil on a hanky nearby, and then taking the same hanky into the exam?

Using sensory stories

Children who experience difficulties processing sensory stimulation, as often happens with children with autism, can be helped to overcome their fears of particular stimuli through the consistent use of sensory stories. Stimuli can be graded, so that on the first telling of a story the child encounters the stimuli on a low level, which then increases on subsequent telling. Children can also be introduced to new stimuli whilst in an environment where they feel safe and calm.

SEN LEADER | January 2014

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