Touching Stories - multi-sensory stories for people with intellectual disabilities
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"Doggie's World"
A Baby Gets Left Alone in a Bag
A story of a little girl. her dog. a lion, a scarecrow , and a tin man
Big Kid vs. Little Kid
Fighting

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The Wedding Day Mystery

Last week, at the wonderful WellSpring Day Program in Castle Rock, CO, we started a new program called Timeslips.  (www.timeslips.org)
 
here's the story that resulted:
 
 
 
"The Wedding Day Mystery"
aka
"The Reception"
It's the wedding day. The bride, Lauren Jackie, ran home, kind of like the movie "Runaway Bride." She was scared of the groom, Mike Paul. She did not want to eat the cake because it was called "dirt cake" with Gummi Worms inside.

Words matter

I have always loved words.  As a storyteller, I have loved the nuance of finding exactly the right word to correctly evoke emotion, to create a scene.  When I began working with people with disabilities, the words I chose took on even more importance.
 
"Imbecile."
"Moron."
"Idiot."
 
All these words at one time were clinical designations for levels of developmental disability, but as they crept into the common lexicon, as they became insults to be hurled in the heat of anger and cruelty, they fell out of favor in the clinical world.

Passing the Torch

I love telling stories.  I love the feeling it gives me, to be able to make people laugh, smile, cry, and experience the world in a new way. 
 
Telling to people with developmental disabilities is a special kind of a gift for a storyteller, because when I tell to these audiences, I am bringing story to people who rarely get to  be "in on" the story.  The joy and the connection is extraordinary.
 
It's a little bit selfish -- how much I love what I do. 

"Jake's head"

One of the most wonderful things about being a storyteller is the shared connection between the audience and me.  There is something truly magical about the giving and receiving of a story that allows everyone -- those hearing the story and the person telling it -- to grow and be enriched by the experience.
 
Multi-sensory storytelling looks a little different than the storyteller at the campfire.  Different than Garrison Keillor or the wonderful storycraft on programs like The Moth or This American Life.

The way a story smells

A few weeks ago, I sang the praises of our favorite hardware store for finding all sorts of pieces for our multi-sensory stories that felt good. (www.bigtoolbox.com)  I also talked about my love of the percussion section of the local music store for finding the way a story sounds. (www.guitarcenter.com)
 
Today, I got to do one of my favorite job as a Touching Stories storyteller.  In the aromatherapy section of Isis Books in Englewood (www.isisbooks.com)  I get to explore how stories

God bless you!

"God bless you!" 
"There's a special place in heaven for you"
 
If I were going to write one of those Sh*t People Say to Social Workers memes, those phrases would certainly be prominently featured.  I've been a social worker for almost 15 years, a social worker for people with developmental disabilities for over 7 years, and a storyteller for people with developmental disabilities for just about a year.
 
I've heard those phrases thousands of times.

Finding sensory stories

The Hardware Store will never be the same to me... nor will the fabric store, the craft store or the music store.
 
Everywhere I go these days, I find myself touching, feeling for sharp edges, thumping for sound effect, squeezing things, turning them upside down -- I have become a sensory-seeking machine!
 
People often ask where the ideas come from for our stories.  Occasionally, someone will have an idea for a story that's based on a folktale, a memory, or a story they've heard from one of our clients that is the basis for a story.

Sloppy Joes for Breakfast (and for a good cause!)

We at Touching Stories are so excited by some new opportunities coming soon!
 
It's been a big year for Touching Stories.  Our first full calendar year has brought a grant from Douglas County,opportunities to travel throughout the state with our stories, chances to present our techniques to librarians and occupational therapists and now...
 
In a new adventure, we will be starting our first Kickstarters campaign!
 
For those of you who've not yet heard of Kickstarters, it's a fantastic new concept in fundraising.

Gratitude

We have big news here at Touching Stories today.  We received notification that our application to become a 501(c)(3) corporation was approved!  As an official non-profit, we can now apply for grants that will help us get Touching Stories kits into so many more classrooms, day programs and libraries.
 
As wonderful as this development is, we also have so much to be grateful for in terms of community support.  
 
Touching Stories officially "launched" as a company at a small fund-raising event nine months ago at Southglenn Library.

Sensory storytimes

One of the wonderful things about starting Touching Stories a year and a half ago has been the opportunity to learn about all the ways in which multi-sensory learning in being used around the world.
 
I first learned about multi-sensory stories about four years ago when I found a website for a program in London called Bag Books (www.bagbooks.org) Bag Books has been producing and distributing multi-sensory stories for almost twenty years and they have led the way in multi-sensory telling.
 
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