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.
Four years ago, Bag Books was about the only resource available for sensory stories anywhere.
Today, in addition to Bag Books and Touching Stories, Voorlezen-Plus - a Dutch company - is creating multi-sensory stories for their community.
Movie theaters are featuring "sensory showings" of their popular films. With the lights up and the sounds down, children and adults with sensory issues are less likely to be overwhelmed by the movie-going experience.
All over the U.S., libraries are starting to incorporate "sensory storytimes" into their routine. These storytimes are great for every child, but especially for those who may not be able to sit through a traditional story time. In addition to the usual music and story books, these story times include more visual stimulation through larger, brighter pictures, they include tactile stimulation with bean bags and koosh balls. They allow for balance practice and stimulation with balance boards and beams.
All children do their initial learning through their five senses. For those with developmental disabilities, autism, and sensory processing disorder, this need for experiencing the world through what they see, touch, smell and hear continues to be of primary importance.
Sensory movies, sensory storytimes, and a greater general understanding of the need to create sensory-friendly spaces has opened up new possibilities for community connections for children and adults with sensory issues!