Once upon a time…

A young girl eating fruit, sitting with her mother
Jessica sitting with her mum.

Books and stories are an integral part of growing up. As a child we hear stories to teach us about the world around us and as we grow, we learn to read, write and tell our own stories. Traditional wisdom and shared experiences have been passed down from generations through the way we communicate with each other. During this time of physical distancing, the need to escape through stories has never been greater.

Louise treasured the stories she told to her son Joshua and she wanted to continue this tradition when her daughter, Jessica, was born. Jessica is a cheeky, bubbly four-year-old. She is deafblind and has a very rare condition called Tetrasomy 18p, which means that she has problems with her muscle tone and is developmentally about two years behind other children her age.

For any parent, playing with your child – whether it’s reading stories, playing with blocks, or simply playing outside– is a vital way of bonding. But for parents of a child who is deafblind or who has complex disabilities, it is vital to get expert advice on how to adapt activities to their child’s needs.

Jessica can’t see the pictures or hear the words that are read from her favourite book called “Tortoise! Tortoise!”. But with the support of Nicky, her Sense Children and Family Support Worker – who uses a small wooden tortoise, a balloon pump, an ice pack and a spray water bottle to bring the story to life – she can be guided through a sensory adventure of wind, snow and rain to help Tortoise come out of his shell!

It is clear as the story sessions continue, Jessica is learning, growing and progressing every day. This is why, it is important that story time continues for Jessica and all the other people Sense supports. The hope is that Jessica’s routine isn’t impacted too dramatically. Thankfully, the wonderful Sense staff are adapting to the new ways of working and finding imaginative ways around this physical isolation.

Sensory stories are an incredibly immersive way to bond with a child over a book. Using props to communicate differently, helps children who are deafblind feel a part of the story and understand the narrative. To understand how you can make story time a more sensory experience, take a look at the videos below.

Sensory Story Time

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