Sensory Stories Provide Parties for Children and Young People with Disabilities and Behavioural Issues
This post has been written by Rachel at Sensory Stories. Children’s parties are often associated with excitement, laughter, screaming, balloons, games and lots of sugar! This ordinary idea of a party doesn’t always engage all children. And we at Sensory Stories, want to engage and empower all of our party guests.
Sensory Stories is a partnership between us (Rachel and Natasha). We are two professional actors, who have both worked in the industry for ten years. Between us we have worked in film, television and theatre.
Alongside our acting careers we have trained and worked as Youth Workers and TAs, focusing on children and young people with SEN
Sensory Stories is setting out to provide parties for children and young people who find traditional parties excluding and overwhelming. Ideal for children and young people who identify as disabled, SEN and children and young people with behavioural issues; we achieve this through sensory play and storytelling.
I, myself, identify as disabled. I have restricted growth and whilst growing up, I did not enjoy the ‘ordinary’ birthday party, getting bashed around the bouncy castle, playing musical chairs with my peers towering above me took a lot of energy; this along with Natasha’s extensive knowledge and experience of working with children with PMLD, autism, physical impairment, visual and hearing impaired, has led us to the conclusion that there is a need and a want for an inclusive alternative to parties.
We make a living telling stories
We have a passion for children and young people and we have a friendship spanning over 13-years-old. So we have brought our shared experiences together to form this partnership.
Each party is based on a story, either an old classic or an original story, written just for the party guests. With us, the storytellers, we take our guests on an immersive journey bringing the story to life, using our 5 senses as a stimulus, this can include; lighting, music and basic puppetry.
Sensory Stories brings the simplest story and makes it magical and accessible to all
Our ‘Beach Party’ (one which written by us, especially for Sensory Stories!) guests get to go on a journey, they get to feel the sand in their fingers and toes, hear the seagulls, taste the ice cream, see the sparkle of the sea and smell the seaweed. By engaging the senses we are immediately captured and included in a world that can often seem so far away.
In contrast, our ‘Pirate Story’ (also homegrown!) is physically engaging. We can bring the characters to life, by dressing up as the pirates, playing the games that they play, listening to the music of the ship, eating the feast that they serve, spying through the telescope, and feeling the motion of the waves. The child who has limited movement is carried away on an adventure of pirate ships and crashing waves.
And this is why we love Sensory Stories
The child who struggles with communication can interact in this world. The child who is constantly being told to calm down is exploring a world through mirrors and music. And the child who is always left out becomes the heroine of a story.
Natasha and Rachel have both had personal experiences with ‘being on the periphery’. And they think it’s time to change the disco lights to fairy lights, the screams to whispers, the balloons to bath bombs, bouncy castles to cosy dens and to make parties an experience for everyone.
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