Sensory stories allow access to literacy activities for people who do not use language, or who have some sensory impairment that prevents them from accessing the images in a story book or hearing words being read to them.
Sensory storytelling aims to tell each story using much more than just spoken words, utilising specially-sourced and made items in a way that illustrates key elements within the story.
Here is an example. An extract from "Jeremy's Night Out"
Jeremy was having real problems sleeping. He would often spend all night on his computer.
The listener is offered a computer keyboard. The teller and the listener explore the sound it makes when the keys are pressed.
Jeremy's friend Simon said: "Mate! You need some exercise! Get some fresh air! Why don't you go fishing?"
The listener is first shown the palms of the teller's hands. The teller then gently but firmly rubs the listener's arms 'in time' to the phrases that Simon is speaking.
It was cold outside. Jeremy put on his woolly hat.
The teller puts the hat gently on the listener's head, and then holds up a mirror if appropriate.
Picked up his gear,
Put on his boots,
These garden shoes make just the "right" sound when slapped rhythmically in time with the words, either on the tops of my thighs (ouch!) or on the floor.
Jeremy pushed his way through the long grass on the edge of the forest.
These West African floor brushes are made out of grass and are soft enough to tap and brush against the listener's shins.
He went into the forest and found his favourite place to fish.
Sound effects can be added electronically
- and so on and so forth.
Laura trained with Bag Books in 2014 and currently uses sensory storytelling with adults with profound and multiple learning difficulties, some of whom also have sensory impairments.
Laura's current repertoire of stories (that she has devised and created herself) includes "Jeremy's Night Out", "Wheelchair On The Beach", "A Trip To the Hairdresser" and "Mork's Day Off." Her stories are often inspired by the activities and situations of her audience members. She also regularly adapts favourite children' stories, folk tales and stories from around the world.