Engagement with Stories for Learners with PMLD

How can you encourage engagement and fun with stories for learners with PMLD? This is a question addressed by Lucy Williams in her blog Literature for Children with PMLD. Lucy talks about her personal experiences with her son, Thomas, and explains some of the ways she is helping him to enjoy books. And this includes the Story Massage Programme. You can read more in this blog.

Massage Stories for Thomas

“Thomas really enjoys massage stories, which I discovered a few years ago and bought him the Story Massage Book for Christmas,” says Lucy, “As he can’t sit up unaided, I massage him on his chest when lying down. He laughs as he anticipates what is coming next. Thomas laughs a lot!”

Animal Friends

Here’s a video of Thomas enjoying one of his favourite massage stories from the book. It’s called ‘Animal Friends’.

Massage Stories for Bedtime

Lucy has also written her own massage story to prepare Thomas for his bath before bed. “He loves a bath and the excitement in him builds as I do the massage,” says Lucy.

“Massage and sensory stories are really useful for preparing a child or person with complex needs for something that may be about to happen to them,” explains Lucy, “If they’re built into a routine, they can make the connections between the story and the next step. Thomas doesn’t necessarily understand the words of his bedtime massage story but he certainly seems to know it’s time for a bath!”

You can read more about Lucy’s experiences of “living with a child with PMLD who is also the happiest child in the world”on her blog Riding on a Star.

Meaningful Stories for Learners with PMLD

As Lucy says, Thomas may never become the top reader like his sister, but he is definitely a lover of literature. And others agree with Lucy. Here are just a few of the ways that the Story Massage Programme has helped encourage engagement with stories for learners with PMLD:

“The Story Massage Programme helps our pupils with PMLD access age appropriate but complicated subject matter – we are currently doing a Story Massage version of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is a simple and fun way of sharing the enjoyment of literature and stories for learners with PMLD.” Rebecca Westaway, SENCo and Class Teacher.

“I love the way that the Story Massage Programme helps children with PMLD enjoy stories. You can see the pure joy on their faces as they anticipagte the mouse going ‘Boo’ and “whee’ in Hickory Dickory Dock and ‘Shaking’ the chair when we ‘Fly to the Moon.’ Helen Mayers, Behaviour Support/Access to Learning Assistant.

“Sharing massage stories brings a new enjoyment for stories and rhymes. It has given the most complex needs pupils the opportunity to take part in stories and rhymes. I have built up a file with massage stories related to the themes and topics that we are working on at the moment.Claire Starling, Sensory Champion

“Many of the children we care for at our Children’s Hospice have higher sensory needs, reduced movement, hearing and vision. The Story Massage Programme has been a lovely way to help the children gain a deeper understanding and enjoyment of a story, as well as relaxing before bedtime!Helen Lloyd, Healthcare Play Specialist at a children’s hospice.

More about the Story Massage Programme

The Story Massage Programme combines the benefits of positive, respectful touch with the creativity and engagement of rhymes, songs and stories. Ten simple massage strokes form the basis of the programme. These strokes have a child friendly name, such as The Circle or The Sprinkle, and an easy to recognise symbol.  It is a fully inclusive activity, no clothing is removed and no oil is used.

Would you like to train in the Story Massage Programme?

Would you like to learn more? Sign up for our Story Massage Online Course and help share the benefits with the children or adults in your care – at home or at work. Check here for the reviews from people who are using the programme at work and at home with adults and children of all ages and abilities: Five Star Feedback.

We teach you how to share the ten Story Massage strokes and work with you to adapt familiar stories and even create some sensory stories of your own. Ideal for all teachers, SEN staff, support staff, therapists, Early Years practitioners,  those working with people with additional needs, Baby Massage Instructors, Relax Kids Coaches… everyone with an interest in sharing positive touch activities with children and adults of all ages and abilities.