Parental Partnership is central to the success of Shotts Family Learning Centre in North Lanarkshire. And the Story Massage Programme is helping to support that parental involvement. At a recent Story Massage training day for parents, there was a staggering 93% engagement with parents and carers.
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.
And here is a video of Thomas enjoying his 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 and say the words ‘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 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) who runs 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.
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.
We’re celebrating the popular World Nursery Rhyme Week (18th -22nd November 2019) by adapting the five nursery rhymes for Story Massage sessions. You’ll find these on our Story Massage for Children Facebook Page. They include: Baa, Baa Black Sheep, Down in the Jungle, Incy Wincy Spider, Row, Row Your Boat and Two Little Dicky Birds.
Nursery Rhymes and the Story Massage Programme
Nursery rhymes play an important role in early childhood development and education. And for extra benefits, they can be easily adapted as a respectful, positive touch activity to be enjoyed at home, school or nursery settings. The Story Massage Programme is based on ten simple massage strokes, each with a self-explanatory name such as The Wave or The Fan and descriptive symbol. To give you an idea of how nursery rhymes can be adapted, here is a short video demonstration of Incy, Wincy Spider.
World Nursery Rhyme Week is a free initiative sponsored by Music Bugs (sensory music classes for children) and supported by music downloads and worksheets from Piccolo Music. The aim is to promote the important role that nursery rhymes play in early childhood by helping children master key skills such as language and communication and social, physical and emotional skills.
The initiative is open to parents and all Early Years practitioners worldwide and all downloadable resources are provided free of charge.To find out more about how you can be involved in World Nursery Rhyme Week please visit the website: World Nursery Rhyme Week
The Story Massage Programme
We run training days for professionals and parents to learn how to share the Story Massage Programme. We also have a popular book Once Upon a Touch…Story Massage for Children which is available from our website. This includes over 25 different stories including nursery rhymes and traditional tales adapted for Story Massage sessions.
It was such a pleasure to meet Joanna Grace, Founder of The Sensory Projects, and talk about the powerful connection between our work – Sensory Stories and the Story Massage Programme. Joanna kindly agreed to write a guest blog which offers a fascinating insight into the power of narrative. She encourages us to look at stories from a different angle and to consider them as a powerful tool for inclusion. Read on to discover a whole new dimension to the benefits of story. Continue reading →
Animals love the Story Massage Programme too! We’ve been hearing from people enjoying Story Massage with pets of all shapes and sizes. Read on to find out how 9 year old Sienna helps calm her rabbit, Daisy, with gentle massage strokes and story.
Here are three massage stories written especially for those children starting back to school. Parents can share Story Massage with children at home to help ease any nerves and encourage sharing feelings about transition to a new class. Teachers will find them helpful as a positive touch activity for children in the classroom at the beginning of the new term. Continue reading →
Anticipatory bereavement is a vital part of caring for families in a hospice setting. And normalising death and dying for young children can be extremely challenging. Kelly de Souza, award-winning senior holistic therapist at Willowbrook Hospice, explains how the Story Massage Programme can help break bad news and reduce fears around the dying process.
Welcome to Shaula Maitland, today’s guest blogger. Shaula, an experienced Early Years and KS1 teacher from Wiltshire, uses meditation alongside the Story Massage Programme in the classroom and shares her tips in this blog. She has also written her first children’s book Positive Panda, a collection of meditations to nurture a positive mind.
How do you help comfort a child with PMLD after a bereavement? When Maisy’s beloved Granny died (see photo below), her mother struggled to know how to explain her sudden loss. Then Sophie discovered the Story Massage Programme and began using positive touch to help offer support and reassurance to Maisy. Sophie tells us more in this heartwarming blog.
We’ve chosen a beautiful venue for our training day in Cornwall – Botelet Farm near Liskeard – on Tuesday 5th May 2020. This FHT accredited CPD day course is open to everyone interested in sharing positive touch activities with children and adults of all ages and abilities. Continue reading →