I visited Brentwood special school as part of their Book Week activities, and enjoyed a morning of storytelling with the students there.
I worked with students with a range of abilities, and tailored each session to their needs:
The first two sessions were sensory, using the story of “How the Birds got their Bright Colours”. The flowers in the story were different textures and had scents put on them so the students could feel and smell them.
I used chocolate essence, perfume, peppermint, white musk, vanilla, lavender, coffee, strawberry and grass scents to give the students a varied sensory experience. Some fabrics were smooth, some rough, and some crackled when handled. The birds in the story were soft to touch and had bells sewn inside. The students were encouraged to shake and feel the birds, and listen to the sounds they made.
The story itself was simple, with lots of repetition and movement throughout to maintain the attention and interest of the students. The story involved a snake shedding his skin, and the students enjoyed running the ribbon (skin) through their hands, and feeling the roughness of the (rope) snake beneath the shed skin.
The more able students took on roles in the second sessions, based around Rudyard Kipling’s “The Cat who walked by himself”. Props and scripts were used to enable the students to access the story using multiple senses, and they enjoyed taking the roles of the story characters. The props were safe yet sturdy, and larger than I would use with younger children, to make them comfortable for the older students to handle and see.
I left a copy of the story “How the Birds got their Bright Colours”, so the teachers could retell the story to the students.