The Story Massage Programme is now an integral part of a bedtime routine for Thomas, a lively 8 year old boy with complex needs and PMLD. “We use it every evening to prepare Thomas for his bath and then bed,” says his mother, Lucy, “He always laughs and smiles. He loves it!”
Story Massage for Siblings
Lucy was introduced to the Story Massage Programme after buying the book Once Upon a Touch… Story Massage for Children for Thomas and his sister, Emily, two years ago. It was a big hit with Emily, then aged 9, and she began writing her own massage stories. Here’s one she wrote especially for her brother to help him sleep.
Connecting with Story Massage
“Story Massage is such a lovely way for us all to connect with Thomas,” says Lucy, “He likes all the different strokes -The Circle is his favourite. As he has such complex needs, we find it best to do the strokes on his chest while he is lying on his back – either on his bed or the physio table.”
Bedtime Story for Thomas
Following the success of Emily’s massage story, Lucy decided to write her own bedtime story for Thomas. This is now pinned up beside his bed and used every evening – sometimes by Lucy or her husband, sometimes by her mother or a carer. “We all follow the same routine and Thomas, like many children with PMLD, really responds well to it,” says Lucy.
Here are the words of Lucy’s Bedtime Story.
Thomas Shows Anticipation
As the video shows, Thomas clearly loves the fun of the Story Massage Programme. Lucy has also noticed that it helps with anticipation as Thomas starts to vocalise sounds to show that he is expecting certain moves or a line in the story. “For example, when we do Animal Friends from the book,” says Lucy, “He starts laughing just before we do The Circle at the end. He seems to love the last line of the story which is ‘All Sammy’s friends are different and that’s what makes them special’.
Riding on a Star
It was a great pleasure to meet Lucy at the Raising The Bar 111 National PMLD Conference in October 2019 where she gave a presentation about the joys and challenges of raising a son with PMLD. You can follow her story on her facebook page and blog: Riding on a Star. Lucy is pictured below with Mary Atkinson (right), co-founder of the Story Massage Programme and Joanna Grace (left) the inspiration behind The Sensory Projects. You can also find out more about Joanna’s important work with Sensory Stories on our blog: Sensory Stories and the Inclusive Benefits of Narrative.