Story Massage and the Sensory Curriculum

We’ve been so pleased to hear such positive feedback from Special Schools who have introduced Story Massage as part of Sensory Curriculum activities. Among the benefits, staff have noticed increased levels of engagement in activities, peer working and communication, and understanding and acceptance of appropriate touch. Ysgol Y Deri Special School in Wales was one of the first winners of Centre of Excellence Award for their innovative work with Story Massage and the sensory curriculum. 

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“It is very rare to find an activity which can engage all learners no matter what their needs, age or disabilities.” Lisa Lawrence, Sensory Co-ordinator, Ysgol Y Deri Special School, Penarth.

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Introducing Story Massage at a Special School

Story Massage combines the many social and therapeutic benefits of positive touch activities with the creativity and familiarity of stories. Staff are trained to use ten basic Story Massage strokes, each with a visual symbol making it simple follow and accessible for all. These strokes can be enjoyed on any appropriate part of the body – often hands, feet, arms, legs and face.

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“It is a clear and easy to follow programme that offers flexibility to develop your own stories and make it unique to your own setting,” explains Lisa Lawrence, Sensory Co-ordinator at Ysgol Y Deri, “We really enjoy using massage stories from the accompanying book Once upon a touch…story massage for children but we also create our own stories using the Story Massage posters and stickers. It is great fun and enjoyed by students and staff alike!”

Students and staff recently wrote massage stories on such diverse topics as the Rugby World Cup and Halloween. You can read their Halloween Massage Story here: Sensory Story Massage.

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Positive and Appropriate Touch Activities

Story Massage is proving such a success at Ysgol Y Deri that Lisa is developing ways of extending and exploring the benefits of the activity within the Sensory Curriculum for both students and the staff. “We have been trialling completing the massage story several times within a session,”says Lisa, “The staff rotate and massage each pupil in turn. While this is taking place a member of staff is observing and recording. At the end of the session the person recording feeds back to the group on what they have observed. It has created a lot of positive discussion.”

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Story Massage in the Sensory Room

Here is a short video of pupils at Ysgol Y Deri enjoying Story Massage as part of an intensive interaction in the sensory room. Just look at the smiles on their faces.

Story Massage for Parents

Lisa has also introduces Story Massage to parents so the benefits of this sensory activity can be continued at home. Lisa organises introductory Story Massage sessions lasting an hour to show parents the ten basic Story Massage strokes and demonstrate some massage stories enjoyed by the pupils. “Story massage is a wonderful activity for a parent and child to share with no financial outlay and no resources required,” says Lisa, “It can help calm or stimulate a child depending upon how it is used and it can also help release Oxytocin, the bonding and feel-good hormone.”

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Story Massage Training

If you’d like to train in Story Massage then we offer in-house training sessions for your school or organisation. We also hold courses around the country. More information here: Story Massage Training.

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