Story Massage and the Sensory Curriculum

The Story Massage Programme is now part of the sensory curriculum in many special schools. 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 our Centre of Excellence Award for their innovative work with the Story Massage Programme and the sensory curriculum.

IMG_7757“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.

Introducing Story Massage at a Special School


“The Story Massage Programme combines the many social and therapeutic benefits of positive touch activities with the creativity and familiarity of stories,” explains Lisa Lawrence, sensory leader at the school, “Our staff have been are trained to use ten basic Story Massage strokes. Each stroke has 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 so it is perfect for our pupils. It is great fun and enjoyed by students and staff alike!” says Lisa.

“Students and staff recently wrote massage stories on such diverse topics as the Rugby World Cup and Halloween.”

Positive and Appropriate Touch Activities

The Story Massage Programme 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.”

Story Massage – Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Here is a short video of pupils at Ysgol Y Deri enjoying Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star as part of a Story Massage session.

The Story Massage Programme 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.”


Story Massage Programme Training

Are you feeling inspired by Lisa’s work at Ygol Y Deri? Our online training course is ideal for therapists, teachers, SEN staff, support staff, Early Years practitioners, parents, those working with people with additional needs, Baby Massage Instructors, Relax Kids Coaches… everyone with an interest in sharing sensory stories and positive touch activities with children and adults. All the information is here: Story Massage Online Training.