Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sensitive Stories

While doing a bit of research today on interventions for decreasing sensory related behaviors I ran across a post on PMLD Scotland (a message board for intensive special needs teachers in Scotland) that mentioned Sensitive Stories. A few clicks later and I was learning about this exciting technique for teaching adaptive behavior skills to learners with significant or complex special needs. Sensitive Stories are to learners with severe, multiple disabilities what Social Stories are to those with Autism. They present difficult topics in a structured, multi-sensory story telling format. They are based on the work of Chris Fuller who started Bag Books. Bag Books are tactile books taken to the next level. They include not only a story text and textures, but also related objects and, often times, scents. For example a story about a camping trip includes "camp fire aroma / tape of camp fire song / tent flap, Velcro / tin mug, toothbrush /quilted material with zip / plastic frog /torch (flashlight) / metal spoon, frying pan / plastic ‘spaghetti’". There are about 25 titles, including selections for children, teens and adults. (I want the entire teen library for my class!) The stories run about 55 pounds (a little over $110 US) each. Int he UK some libraries carry some or all of the Bag Books.

Multi-Sensory Stories are a take off on the Bag Books concept. The University of Dundee and PAMIS (a Scottish charity for those with intensive special needs) created 50 Multi-Sensory stories that are similar in content to the Bag Book Stories.

From there researchers at PAMIS decided to create Sensitive Stories, Multi-Sensory Stories that address significant issues in the lives of those with complex special needs. They employ the concept of a multi-sensory story with the interventional design of the social story. Topics include
sexuality, menstruation, epilepsy, toileting, respite, going to the dentist, transition and more.

I see no reason why special needs teachers outside of Scotland (where the pre-made stories can be taken out of the PAMIS library) cannot create these types of Sensitive Stories for their students.

Multi-Sensory Story Brochure PDF
Sensitive Story Brochure PDF

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