Space sensory experience for students with vision impairment

Post date: 
Friday, 30 September 2016
Students and teachers enjoying the space sensory experience

Emma Rae from Warren School in Suffolk, England shares their new film, a space sensory experience for students with vision impairment. Discover what inspired them and take away ideas to create your own story.

Warren is a community special school for pupils with a range of severe learning difficulties. The two students in our film have vision impairment, William only has the sight of a pin prick due to his condition which is called Batten Disease, and Lily has Cerebral palsy.
The aim of our sensory stories is for the students to engage and learn through a secure, safe and fun environment. Our sessions enable the children to explore, play and build trusting relationships with their peers and staff members.

Watch Warren School’s sensory space story


SENSORY STORIES - Space (For Visually Impaired Students)

What inspired you to do a space sensory story?

A colleague and I made a list of exciting adventures we could go on during our sessions and we decided that space would be fun as there was a lot of different objects, music and lighting effects we could use. 

What adaptations did you make for the students’ vision impairments?

We are able to adjust our sessions to meet the needs of all the individuals in the school. This time we focussed more on sound, textures and smells, and included bright lights. With other students in the school, we make shadow puppets on the wall, whereas with William and Lily we used the light up jelly balls and foam spray.
We used:
  • Tinfoil sheets for the astronauts jackets because they make a crunchy sound when moving and they feel smooth and shiny.
  • A textured wheel that I made to encourage speech – the students could describe what they were feeling and tell us which one was their favourite and which ones they disliked.
  • The scent diffuser to heighten the sense of smell.
  • Foam soap because it smelt nice and is fun to play with – you can mould it into shapes or splat it and watch it spray out, it also causes no mess so can quickly be cleared away for the next part of the session.
  • Sand, ice, rocks, and shells to again encourage speech and descriptive language.

What challenges did you overcome?

We needed to make sure that the story was suitable for all ages and abilities. We had to adjust timings to make sure it wasn’t too long or short, in case students lost interest. Once we started practising our sessions, we soon realised what was working and what wasn’t. We also adjusted some of the music to make it more appropriate to certain sections.

What tips do you have for other schools that might want to create their own sensory stories?

Make it as fun as possible! Think outside of the box and encourage the students – imagination is the key.
Our next adventure is an under the sea sensory story, which will be adapted several times to make sure we have covered all the requirements so every one of our students can enjoy it. It can be found on YouTube along with our other stories, including a rainforest sensory experience.
At the end of the term we hold a whole school sensory story, which has been very well received in the past. Going forwards, we would like to travel around with our sensory stories to other settings and start our own after-school club.

Further information

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