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Storytelling In Your Area - South West England: 2017 onwards

Since January 2017 we have organised the following multi-sensory storytelling sessions:

Heart of the Forest Community Special School, Coleford. 10/07/18

Our Storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 19 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all 19 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • “L refused to take part to begin with but when it was her turn put her head up. Half way through the first story she sat up waiting and watching. The stories have sensory objects or boards that are multi sensory- touch, sounds, something for everyone. They could join in on boards that they showed interest in. O tried to squeeze the pig with his hands but couldn’t so he pushed it with his tummy. Z stilled and his nostrils flared with the smell. He didn’t like the cow sound and jumped each time before his turn but not on his turn. S signalled NO to smelling the vinegar. R sat in his chair waiting and watching. L laughed at the elephant trunk. Z caught the light reflecting on the mirror. O seemed to like the pirate story more but maybe was more settled. S liked the mango smell.”
  • “Having a small group gave time to show each student the props and interact. Good, clear, confident presentation. Props were using sight and sound and touch and smell. The Storyteller understood how to interact with PMLD students. [I was surprised that] one student gave good eye contact and enjoyed touching the props independently. Laughing. Another moved her head before the smell came close to her. She put her hand over her face. [In the longer term] they may remember parts of the story and anticipate favourite parts.”
  • “All kids sat and listened to the story. All kids enjoyed it. Very good at telling the story. This means the kids enjoyed and listened well. [I was surprised that there were] lots of smiles. They sat still. Listened to all of the story. Amazing for one child to stay all the way through and really enjoy it. [In the longer term this will] help to show the staff how to use the bag books. Very, very well done.
  • “They enjoyed the sensory boards, feeling the items. Enjoyed smelling the fruits. Some gave really good eye contact. Lots of smiles. [In the longer term] it would be good to get a session in their weekly timetables and then they would be able to choose their favourite.”

The West of England School and College, Exeter. 03/07/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 27 children and students (almost the entire school) with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 27 of the children/students in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • “They could all benefit from the sensory objects. There was a great reaction from the smell of the coffee, the sound of the violin and the clapping. [In the longer term this will] help with group activities and turn taking. Also prompts anticipation in our group.”
  • “Everyone got involved with the story and enjoyed the sensory toys. [I was surprised that] they interacted really well. [In the longer term this will help with] interaction and socialising.”
  • “They were all very calm, happy and relaxed throughout the story. Listening well and smiling. Great interest by reaching out and touching all of the props. Most reacted in a way we would expect. One young lady excelled herself by reaching out and touching every single prop (she will often push things away). I think they benefited by all coming together to share the story in one classroom (we are a class that are split over 2 rooms). I do not think anything could have been better. A great lively storytelling session enjoyed by everyone. Thank you.”
  • “The story was easy to follow and flowed well. [I was surprised that] they all joined in really well. One student was very expressive in her enjoyment. I felt all students really enjoyed the session and would really enjoy more stories.”
  • “[The Storyteller] was excellent at judging each student’s ability and understanding when one left early. [I was surprised that] one student interacted with every object offered and stayed engaged throughout. [In the longer term this will help with] encouraging the enjoyment of learning and engaging in new activities.”
  • “All the students interacted and joined in with lots of smiles and all the students used all the props. The students loved the stories especially the violin and drum. The spider created a good response. Performer was really good and brought all the best from the students.”

The Sheiling School and College, Ringwood. 30/06/18

Our Storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions for children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder at their Summer Festival. 

Wyvern Academy, Weymouth. 25/06/18

Our Storyteller ran three multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 10 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • “The Storyteller was enthusiastic with each pupil despite the profound and complex needs of the group. I felt that one very passive child looked and stayed awake throughout. The others enjoyed the session. [In the longer term this will help with] finding ways of engaging each child. Thank you! :)”
  • “The students showed intensive interaction throughout. The session included lots of sensory, touch, smell and was delivered very enthusiastically. Usual positive engagement [In the longer term this] will give new ideas at how to develop new ways of delivering sessions.”
  • “[The session helped with] turn-taking and time to watch their peers exploring the resources. Individual attention from storyteller. One pupil who kept sleeping looked to the storyteller when given their 1-1 time. [In the longer term this will help with] expectation of interaction with storyboards and resources. Group time.”

Dame Hannah Rogers School, Ivybridge. 18/06/18

Our Storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 13 children with profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • “They sat and did some great listening as [the Storyteller] was amazing and kept them all engaged. They took turns and felt everything in the story. Lovely session. Both children did great interaction. It was amazing!”
  • “Very good. Lots of repetition. Fun. Lots of sensory elements. Engaging and interactive. Lovely interaction with all students who responded by smiling, reaching out and being very quiet. [In the longer term this will help with] engagement, imagination, achieving IEP aims, anticipation, cause and effect, communication, listening skills, recall skills, counting, rhythm. So many benefits. Really well presented by someone who clearly understands the client group.”
  • “The children were enabled to interact with the stories. Motivating props used. Excellent presentation which engaged the attention of the children. [I was surprised that] one child reached for the props many times without prompts. Another was visually aware of props. [In the longer term this will help with] concentrating in a group situation and interacting with objects around them.”

Battledown Centre for Children and Families, Cheltenham. 13/06/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 22 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all bar one of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good" and two as “4/5 – Good". Comments were:

  • “Enthusiastic leader made the session fun and interactive. Children explored a wide range of sensory media. [I was surprised that] a child with very fleeting attention demonstrated a good level of engagement. It allowed them to build their focus and attention and feel confident to explore a wide range of sensory media and observe their peers doing the same.”
  • “The multi-sensory aspects of the story worked so well with a mixture of visual and auditory resources and ones that they could smell and touch. The children were highly motivated by and interested in the stories and resources. Fantastic session! [I was surprised that] they were more focused and attentive and were more engaged and participating for each of their turns. Some children are wary/shy in new situations/with new adults but they were so confident in this session. [In the longer term I plan to use the books] weekly (although would have it daily if it were possible, but already have lots of other timetabled activities.) It will support their attention within other sensory story sessions that we have in school. It was spot on and wonderful. Please come back!”
  • “Pitched at children’s level. Enjoyed interactions and sensory props. One of the children's attention was longer than expected. One spoke and interacted with confidence. [In the longer term this will help with] attention span. Exposed to more sensory textures. Thank you very much!”
  • “Encouraged our very young children to engage and reach out for different textures in a fun way. Story probably a bit high level for them but the three that stayed benefited and enjoyed some of the textures and listening to the story. [I was surprised that] one child really enjoyed the feel of the feathers when the bird was in the story. He laughed and did a joyful shriek in enjoyment - this child has limited purposeful reaching out. He was more settled than expected. [In the longer term this will] help them to tolerate and enjoy more with exploring senses and textures.”
  • “Opportunity to explore a range of sensory media. [I was surprised that] they were able to sit for a significant amount of time and independently explored the sensory boards. Good reaction to smells - often resistant to that. [In the longer term this will help] to enable the children to develop focus and attention of task. To become familiar with sensory boards, increasing independence in engaging with story.”

Langside School, Poole. 05/06/18

Our Storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 19 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all 19 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • “We feel it was beneficial because it was very sensory which meant the children could participate well. We feel some of the children became a bit upset when the sensory items were taken away proving they were very engaged in the story. The children were able to track the sensory objects as they were passed around showing great interest and interaction. Also learning to take turns. It was a lovely session.”
  • “[The session helped with] inclusion in storytelling - all were given the time they needed to process and respond. Adults able to identify preferred stimuli offered. [I was surprised that] one child was more vocal and one was more engaged than expected. [In the longer term this will help with] communication and engagement for learning. Independent skills in exploring and responding.”
  • “Always good for our children to meet and work with new people. Pace of story was appropriate presenting stimuli to each individual and giving them time to respond. [I was surprised that] one pupil left after one story but did well to sit for the time she did; she like the calm atmosphere. Another responded especially well to sensory props; reached out more than we thought. [In the longer term this will] encourage listening skills and small group participation.”
  • “Sensory story is a perfect medium for our students. The pace of the story was appropriate. Lots of tactile elements. Lots of repetition. [I was surprised that] J and A became alerted as they were going off to sleep but LOVED the story. A used her hands and doesn’t usually like doing so. [In the longer term this will help with] adapting to unknown adult in the classroom. A new experience. A different story to aid development.”

Littlewood & Springwood Campus, Bournemouth. 04/06/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 25 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar one of the 25 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good" and one as “4/5 – Good". Comments were:

  • “The pupils were fully engaged throughout the stories apart from one who sat apart and would not join the group. Three pupils listened carefully and touched and smelt objects. The one pupil that didn’t sit in the group at least came into the room which was good. [I was surprised that] one student sat in the group for much longer than expected. Another sat without needing an adult to remind him how to sit. [In the longer term] it is beneficial to sit and listen to a story. A very good session.”
  • “[The session helped with] lots of interaction, multi-sensory. Great focus from all. [I was surprised that] two pupils who really dislike the room were able to sit with good focus for an extended time. There were also good responses considering the break from routine and encountering a new person. Great for the kids to focus on a voice and objects rather than the visual of a book and pictures.”
  • “Being able to explore the props brought the story to life for the students. They were able to be part of the story. One pupil who will not normally stay in a group situation for that long enjoyed exploring the props and the hands-on approach enabled him to engage. It has given them an introduction to multi-sensory storytelling so that they would know and understand expectations of future and similar sessions. It surprised me how the more able got so much from the session. Excellent session enjoyed by all students. Thank you from all of us.”
  • “Just at their level. Very sensory. Very interactive. Even though hot and tired they were fully engaged. [In the longer term this will help] get them used to unusual smells, textures, noise etc.”
  • “Brilliant. One boy sat very still. Another interacted from a distance. [I was surprised that] one of the students looked more interested in this than any other thing he does. [In the longer term this will help] encourage them to listen to stories. Thank you for your time.”
  • “Two of the students enjoyed touching the resources. One student looked at all the items carefully before pushing them away. [In the longer term] it gave me more ideas for sensory stories.”

Yewstock Special School, Sturminster Newton. 14/03/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 45 children with profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar one of the 45 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • “Most of the pupils stayed sitting and engaged for both stories. Good listening and concentrating skills. They benefited from having a different person telling them stories and in a different venue. Thank you. Two interacted with props better than expected. All pupils bar one were well behaved in a different environment.”
  • “Great opportunities for turn taking, participation and development of story vocabulary. [I was surprised that] a pupil with ASD initiated interactions with resources. Another pupil with ADHD was sitting and waiting his turn. [In the longer term we will] encourage the staff team to use similar approaches in class - more interactive literacy.”
  • “The children were all engaged. The sensory aspect of the storytelling was just lovely. The children listened and enjoyed touching the sensory items. The calm repetition of both stories helped them understand and the Easter story enchanted them. [I was surprised that] all were interested. [In the longer term this will help with] focus and listening response assured!”
  • “The storyteller showed excellent patience and enthusiasm giving each child time to feel and explore at their own level. Both classes find it hard to sit still and focus yet for the whole time they all sat and engaged. Really lovely to witness. [In the longer term this will] encourage us as teachers to use the story boxes on a regular basis. It was super. The Storyteller and the resources were fantastic.”
  • “One student very engaged and became quite animated with the pig. All students participated well. Amazing interaction from several, experiencing the props. The students all interacted with the props and enjoyed the experiences. The students gave great enthusiasm when responding to the props and several became very animated. [In the longer term this will help them] to interact with the story and to share with their peers. Promote turn taking. Language and using verbalisation of how items felt or smelt.”
  • “All of them participated really well and listened really well with two stories. The variety of sensory objects were great for all students. [I was surprised that] P wanted to sit as part of the circle and touched all the objects and interacted very well. [In the longer term] it’s given me ideas for class.”

Fiveways School, Yeovil. 12/03/18

Our Storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 38 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar two of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • “Children very engaged. Children taking turns, watching each other use/explore cards. Children exploring cards. [In the longer term] if we were to share these stories more often, they would share anticipation of the story and be more interactive with each page. They would also enjoy the familiarity of a known story.”
  • “Multi-sensory approach to storytelling. Interactive story. Engaging storyteller (aware of expressions, interaction, body language). [I was surprised that] the pupils engaged well. The Storyteller was able to engage a pupil who was less keen initially. [In the longer term this will help] modelling of storytelling using a multi-sensory approach.”
  • “Engaged all the children. Great resources. [I was surprised that] all children sat, observed, touched, smelt all the resources. It was very sensory and engaged all the pupils in the class. Easy to adapt for all abilities. Very good resources. Regular story sessions like today would be amazing.”
  • “All motivated and interested - looking and listening. All keen to participate. Storyteller worked well with pupils even though she didn't know them. Gave me some sensory ideas in implement in class. [I was surprised that] a blind child was able to have touch/sound and smell sensations and experiences. Each child got their own moment and others waited/anticipated their turn with enthusiasm. [In the longer term this will help with] interest/engagement, concentration, joy of stories, interaction, verbalisation, speed, encouraging movement and action.”
  • “Multi-sensory story. All participants were very engaged. [I was surprised that] all participants interacted brilliantly. Playing maracas. Big smiles from all students. Two of the students today are PMLD and they need lots of sensory opportunities in their daily life.”
  • “They were all happy and engaged and sat well, apart from one child who left after 5 mins, although leading up to that he engaged in the story. [I was surprised with the reactions from] two children in particular. One child was laughing lots when normally he gets very anxious.”

Pathfield School, Barnstaple. 05/03/18

Our Storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 27 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • "They all loved the story and using the sensory items related to the different characters. Repeating the simple sentences helped them understand. All very engaged, all loved the resources. One of the participants who normally is very shy was able to finish the end of the sentence. 'I don’t moo like a cow'. One of the participants could say what animal the Storyteller was talking about. [In the longer term this will help with] sitting and listening for a period of time, turn-taking and communication - talking about what they see."
  • "The pupils demonstrated anticipation, able to use all their senses to explore, resources easily accessible and portable so pupils were able to access them easily. Pupils also had the opportunity to show active disengagement (dislike) if they were not as interested in a particular resource. (very important to be able to communicate “No”). One pupil in particular showed great anticipation, had one resource demonstrated and then he was able to activate the sound himself (Moo like a cow). It supported the work we are doing in class on early engagement and was a great opportunity to see how many of these skills pupils were able to generate into a different setting and with a less familiar adult."
  • "Lovely sensory props with interactive element. Energetic cheerful storyteller. Fresh face - new voice. Was great - Thank you :). The Storyteller managed to get best reaction and focus from most of them. Session probably a bit too long for some. Helps with language development, communication, literacy and sensory stimulation. We already have sensory stories 3 times a week in their class."
  • "Students always benefit from a different storyteller with a great energy. The Storyteller involved all of the group; all were pleased to see her back in school. Great reactions from all. Pupil J followed the Storyteller's voice and props as she went around the group. Lots of vocalising and smiling. It's great for pupils to experience different stories from a range of storytellers."

Ravenswood School, Bristol. 26/02/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 32 children with severe learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar one of the 32 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good" and one as “4/5 – Good". Comments were:

  • “Interactive resources with key repetitive phrases. I got a lot of ideas! So thank you! Resources for all the senses. [I was surprised that] they all really enjoyed the treasure. 'Can I have some more stories'”
  • “Interesting story. Kept them interested. Sensory boards. Enthusiastic leader. The children all sat and used their listening skills. They were able to use all the equipment/sensory boards. Not much waiting time. New face for the children to listen to keep them interested.”
  • “The sensory boards were good to get the pupils involved. The story lines were repeated and that gave the pupils time to interact and understand. [I was surprised that] they showed lots of interest with the mirror. Pupils needed little prompting to communicate and join in with the noises. [In the longer term this will help with] more communicational skills. Practise sitting and waiting their turns. Listening and staying concentrated. I think the session was very well done. Every pupil who was involved had the chance to interact with the adult and got to join in telling the story.”
  • “Very interactive. All pupils able to participate and enjoy. Kept engaged throughout. [I was surprised that] everyone engaged well. Good speaking, signing and waiting turns. [In the longer term this will help with] better understanding of participation, rules, turn taking and easy to involve everyone. Very enjoyable.”
  • “Feeling textures, visual resources. Listening to a story by a visitor. Interacting with story resources. Interesting use of vocabulary – “spin”, “heave ho” - repetition. Sensory materials - great sound, smell, texture. [I was surprised that] one student responded positively to new words and sounds. [In the longer term] we will be able to reflect and talk about it in future.”
  • “All pupils were able to take part using the multi-sensory resources. [I was surprised that] everybody was well engaged and took turns using the resources. One student was particularly well engaged more than sometimes. [In the longer term this will] help them to develop an interest in books and stories.”

Cranham House, Gloucester. 15/01/18

Our Storyteller ran multi-sensory storytelling training for 5 Speech and Language Therapists.

Selworthy Special School, Taunton. 15/01/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 27 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar one of the 27 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • "The storyteller interacted brilliantly with the learners and was fantastic. They all reacted fantastically and sat memorised. T’s facial expressions were wonderful [In the longer term this will help] to increase concentration and keeping learners focused, turn-taking, waiting and overall enjoyment. Fantastic :)"
  • "All enjoyed feeling all the different materials and smelling the different smells. Independently at own time experienced the story - not rushed. Taking in turns. They were excited and smiley to hear the next part of the story. Most took part on all the pages [In the longer term we] will continue to enjoy listening to sensory stories and taking part in them. To learn to take turns."
  • "It was fun and interactive. They talked a lot about the story. Touched the objects and smelled. [In the longer term we will] listen to the story again. Do some drawings and painting."
  • "The learners seemed very engaged and participated well. Very focused and seemed like they thoroughly enjoyed it due to the props and engagement from the storyteller. The learners participated well and seemed very happy. The learners reacted well to it, were very focused and engaged. One learner reacted better then expected due to her normally being fixated on her toys, she was engaged and participated well with the story and her toys. The session really benefited the learners as they were very focused and all participated well for a long period of time. I thought the story sensory session was very good, it engaged with the learners and was very focused and they participated well with the props and found it very funny."
  • "They got to experience some lovely stories and get involved with great sensory resources which they all loved. It was lovely for them to be able to get involved with everything. Some of the learners loose interest quickly but they all stayed focused and engaged for both stories. It helps them become more engaged so more learning will take place. The storyteller was very enthusiastic and lovely with the learners and the stories and resources were great."
  • "A different way to experience storytelling using all the senses with new props. Repetitive key phrases. Once it got going, a learner joined in more than I expected. [In the longer term this will help with] taking turns, language, joining in new experiences, peer to peer learning, watching others, sensory- different ways to explore, listening."

The Lampard Community School, Barnstaple. 04/12/17

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 35 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 35 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • “All loved the repetition and tactile nature of the stories. One child entered into the room looking very suspicious and anxious; by the end of the session he was smiling, laughing and joining in. [In the longer term this will help with] confidence in interaction with new adults and confidence to give things a go. Older ones will be able to say repetitive phrases the more they hear the stories. We could make our own sensory stories.”
  • “All four students absolutely loved the interactive parts of the stories. They all joined in and loved the repetition. [I was surprised that] all students interacted! They waited for their turn brilliantly. [In the longer term this will help with] learning to take turns and interact with others. It was a lovely session and the children loved it.”
  • “Good for the students to meet new people. They all had the opportunity to join in on tasks. Counting, motor skills, sensory. [I was surprised that] one student understood the humour behind hook a duck - normally they would struggle to identify a joke. Another student with anxieties seemed to feel comfortable. [In the longer term] it showed the students how a story could be told in a different way. (more interactive and sensory).”
  • “The children enjoyed the stories and resources to go with them. [I was surprised that] all the children were engaged and enjoyed exploring the resources/props. [In the longer term this will help with] engagement and opportunities for sensory play/exploring.”
  • “All students listening and working together - watching each other’s reactions and patiently waiting. Good ideas for multi-sensory items to help children engage and make links between experiences that we can use in school.”

Claremont School - Primary Site, Bristol. 27/11/17

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 23 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar four of the 23 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good" and one as “4/5 – Good". Comments were:

  • “Wonderful pace and interaction. Resources that were accessible for our students. Communication and cognition skills used. Constant encouragement to boost confidence & self-esteem. [I was surprised that the pupils were] confident to use communication aids. They engaged throughout and even when waiting they were watching [the Storyteller]. Some can find change difficult but [the Storyteller] made them feel comfortable and all students remained for the duration.”
  • “[The session helped with] feeling, exploring, interacting with someone different, smells, sounds, hands etc - covered all senses. Speed - Moments of engagement- variety of experiences in one box. [I was surprised that] H explored everything and didn't grab out or shout out etc - a success for her to stay in her chair and interact for 20 mins. [In the longer term we will] carry on exploring stories in this way. All good.”
  • “The children were engaged and stimulated throughout the story. Benefiting from various sensory objects stimulating sight, touch, small, auditory. Children became more animated throughout story with lots of smiling, laughing, reaching out to touch resources and anticipating interaction with objects and storyteller. Children were more vocal. Resources were adapted to suit child. Children that were fatigued became more awake and engaged. Children enjoyed the story. A child who had been apprehensive before the session became more relaxed, positive. The experience is a stimulating, engaging, relaxing opportunity for the children as a group. The story is interactive giving children opportunity to use fine motor skills, focus skills.”
  • “Very clear words, helped the children touch. Very engaging with each child. Good at remembering each child’s name. Really good stories. Amazing props. Things that the children could touch or smell or made a noise.”
  • “ Storytelling gave the students a sensory feel to the story. Having really good props to every story teaching the students a lot more then telling a story. [I was surprised that] students reacted well to lights, materials and pressing switches. [In the longer term this will help with] learning about Xmas. Having someone new to tell the story.”
  • “The children listened to the story - smiled, laughed, got excited and were very engaged. [I was surprised that] the children anticipated the objects coming to them and as [the Storyteller] got to know the children, she helped them or let them be more independent. [In the longer term this will] help with willing to feel or look at different materials and have different experiences. Anticipation.”

Oaklands Park School, Dawlish. 27/11/17

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 33 children with severe learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar four of the 33 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • “Because it is a sensory story all of our pupils were able to interact and enjoy the story. They all took turns and waited patiently for their turn. [I was surprised that] they all remained seated in their chairs and were engrossed in the story [In the longer term] it will benefit our children to move forward by increasing their vocabulary and giving them an enjoyment of books and storytelling. All of our pupils remained sitting, interacting very well with the storyteller. They practised turn taking and were really engrossed in the story.”
  • “The children in the group are all sensory learners. They all focused and you could see they were enjoying the stories. [I was surprised that] one pupil’s face lit up and he did all the activities and interacted well with [the Storyteller]. Another pupil was much more focused and relaxed than I thought he would be because things were different.”
  • “It was very engaging for our children allowing them to have good understanding of what is going on within the story, opening our children up to a wider range of language. [I was surprised that] two of our children reacted very well to the sensory story. They were very engaged and interested in the different smells passed around and sensory story books. This really engaged out children. [In the longer term this] will open the children to using a wider range of language. Also will enable their senses to be explored to a wider range allowing them to experience new and exciting things.”
  • “Excellent attention from all children. [I was surprised that] B and T really focused and joined in following the story and adding drama. L had fun and tried something new. [In the longer term this will] encourage staff to make stories more visual and animated.”
  • “The pupils found the storytelling and books interesting. [I was surprised that] some of the individuals were more engaged then usual. [In the longer term this will help with] keeping active engagement for a longer time.”
  • “[The session helped by] being able to interact as a group. All children engaged. [I was surprised that] a non-verbal child was totally engaged and smiling etc. [In the longer term] I will try to use the sensory books with my class and attempt to make my own. More, more, more!”

Westhaven School, Weston-Super-Mare. 06/11/17

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 35 children with severe learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 35 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • “I feel the students benefitted from this session because they need the story repeated which is what is happened. They also all really enjoyed the feel of some of the objects on the story board. Most children participated a lot better than expected. Most participants’ attention was much better than expected. [In the longer term] it will help them learn how to take turns and help their listening skills so they can keep up with the story. I thought both stories were great.”
  • “Loved the sensory aspects, good for challenging our students with autism and speech and language difficulties. [I was surprised that] one boy with speech and language issues repeated all the words. They all had a go, even the very 'logical' students. They wanted another story.”
  • “H finds it very difficult to interact with new people so this was great. [I was surprised that] he was fully engaged. Despite everything, he enjoyed being the centre of attention. I wish I had brought my camera with me.”
  • “[The session helped through] Visual aid, Sensory aid, Musical aid. These stories were delivered in an interactive and stimulating way. Wonderful narrator. [I was surprised that] a child who normally moves away from the group sessions stayed and really enjoyed it.”
  • “It was good to see the children being a part of the story rather than just sitting and listening. One or two interacted better than I thought. [In the longer term this will] Help them to understand they can perform as they listen to stories.”

Bidwell Brook School, Totnes. 22/06/17

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 36 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Two rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good" and one as “4/5 – Good". Comments were:

  • "They both participated and enjoyed the session. M was engaged. M loves to feel engaged and part of the action. Today ticked both boxes."
  • "Two pupils are tactile defensive so it was lovely to see them interacting and touching all sensory boards. Also very good for turn taking. Brilliant it uses all senses. One child only tolerated one story but for the first sat for the duration. Two non-verbal pupils made good eye contact and independently touched the boards. It would be interesting to see how the children would react to the story if it got repeated, anticipating some of the boards and perhaps even the verbal children to copy the phrases. Come here more often."
  • "They are sensory learners and enjoyed and appreciated the sensory elements. It is usually hard to engage L but she really enjoyed herself. We have several Bag Books and will now use them more."

Kingsweston School, Bristol. 19/06/17

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 37 children with severe learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 37 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • "Lovely resources; very interactive and engaging. M was very engaged; the story maintained his attention throughout, something he finds very challenging [In the longer term] the story would benefit some SLD/PMLD pupils who would need pictures, text & symbols to support learning. Thank you we all really enjoyed it."
  • "Had fun. Able to interact with objects in the story. Good practice for turn taking. Story caught their interest. Worked well with someone they didn't know. Z engaged really well with the wig (the haircut); H sat all the way through; K allowed the towel on his head. [In the longer term this will] help them to focus. Having self-control, not grabbing etc."
  • "All of the participants engaged with the story. All had a turn at exploring the sensory prompts. They paid attention for the whole time helping them to increase their attention span and skills which are important to learning in all areas of cognitive development. They enjoyed as well as learned. One of our pupils wouldn't usually sit still and engage for so long, and he did for nearly the whole story time. Some of our pupils struggle to wait for their turn and they all did pretty well. Another pupil finds it hard to focus for even short periods of time and he showed a lot of interest in the props. [In the longer term] it will help them relate better to strangers delivering activities in the class; help develop attention span/skills necessary for all areas of learning; improve their willingness to engage with visual/tactile props. We think the stories were good and the storyteller was outstanding in her performance and speech and the way she engaged with different children with the same activity. All was very appropriate for our kids."
  • "Sensory, all engaged. Accessible for all. Each child personally 'told' the story. Sensory aspects included all senses. One pupil really engaged with the elephant (What Am I?) Making it easy to access and interact with the props. Another pupil engaged with the giraffe using imagination to say 'hello'. Engaged for much longer than was expected. [In the longer term this give] ideas for staff to create own stories; opportunity to hear and engage with different sensory media; focussed and engaged for longer."
  • "Excellent pace and lots of repetition; excellent multi-sensory resources. Lovely language from children; all children engaged."

Uplands School, Swindon. 23/05/17

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 35 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 35 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good". Comments were:

  • “[The session helped with] sensory and individual participation. [The pupils] interacted better than expected.”
  • “The storyteller was very engaging and ensured all students were included.  he props were appropriate and interactive. All senses were catered for - smell, sight touch & hearing - which meant that all my learners were able to participate. [I was surprised that] one of my learners smiled and giggled throughout. Another who is VI and HI held on to one of the props and looked at the lights shining onto the mirror. We are looking forward to exploring new stories and props. We all enjoyed the experience.”
  • “It was a great opportunity for our students to experience such a great story, reading with someone unfamiliar, and practise listening skills and being engaged. It was great for them to have so many sensory opportunities, smelling, touching, sounds. Especially great for desensitising our students with sensory needs. [I was surprised that] they all interacted - even our most tactile defensive student. Great opportunity to work on these challenges. [In the longer term this will help them] be more open to new smells, textures, touch. Perfect amount of time. Great enthusiasm from [the Storyteller] and kept everyone engaged. Perfect level story for our students.”
  • “They used all their senses to engage with the story, which is something we don't often get to do in our class. Some pupils are not used to having sounds close to and around their heads, so it was good to challenge them this way. They responded brilliantly. I expected the autistic students to find the head touching (e.g. elephant) more challenging than they did. However it was done in such a fun, gentle way that they really enjoyed it. [In the longer term this will] help them to de-sensitise touch to their hair. This will help parents washing their hair. It was brilliant.”
  • “[The session helped] because of the interaction from the storyteller, got the students engaged. The students reactions and expressions on their faces. [I was surprised with] the participation from the students, lots of laughing and wanting to be included with touching props, etc.”
  • “[The session helped with] fun and chance to interact and communicate. Using listening skills. Brilliant storyteller! All enjoyed it and participated. [In the longer term this will help] encourage social behaviour. Very good.”

Mill Water School, East Budleigh. 02/05/17

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 42 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 42 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good" and two as “4/5 – Good". Comments were:

  • "[A lot of the children are quite sensory, so being able to experience the story as well as listen was good, using a variety of senses - smell, touch and hearing. Some of our pupils find it hard to sit for an activity but they all sat for the duration and all interacted with [the Storyteller]. [In the longer term] knowing they are willing to sit for multi-sensory stories means we could do it again and more often."
  • "Animated storyteller. Multi-sensory, well organised resources. Delivered at an appropriate pace. All pupils were able to engage for the majority of the session. Pupil’s reactions as expected. [In the longer term] I think that pupils will have a positive expectation of what will happen next time they encounter a story bag."
  • "All the children were engaged and motivated by the props and storytelling. It was very sensory so ALL of the children were involved. It was lovely. Thank you. Two of the children were reluctant to come into the room and engage but once the story started they sat and listened and explored the props. [In the longer term this] gave me ideas for sensory stories and I noticed how much all of the children enjoyed it. Thank you for a lovely storytelling session and props."
  • "[The session helped with] enjoyment had from the story, good interaction with an adult, learning to take turns. All participants had good focus throughout the story, including one child who initially was unsettled then became settled and focused. [In the longer term this will help with] learning turn-taking, learning focus."
  • "The children with SLD interacted well with the touch / sensory aspects. All children were attentive. [I was surprised that] certain children were really engaging. [In the longer term this will help with] learning to interact / engage."
  • "All were able to access and enjoyed the varied sensory experiences. Noise, touch and smell. One pupil really liked the elephant trunk & explored it more than they would normally explore materials. [In the longer term this] gives TA’s and teachers ideas."

St John’s Centre, Torquay. 07/03/17, 14/03/17, 21/03/17

There were a total of 13 adult participants across the three sessions. There four trainees who all rated the overall training/mentoring as "5/5 - Very Good". Comments were:

  • "Really interesting. Never knew about Bag Books. Involves a whole group. Lovely lady and so supportive."
  • "Felt the training was very thorough."
  • "It was good to have a go. Our service users really enjoyed it."

Hollacombe CRC, Paignton. 07/03/17, 14/03/17, 21/03/17

There were a total of 16 adult participants across the three sessions. There were five trainees. Four rated the overall training/mentoring as "5/5 - Very Good" and one as "4/5 - Good". One added, "Have used Bag Books for many years and good to know how to use correctly." Another commented, "Excellently presented."

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