University of Edinburgh

Sensory Stories and Wellbeing for children and young people with visual impairment and complex needs

Presented on Monday, 5th November 2018


Sensory stories combine concise text with rich and relevant sensory experiences to unlock the power of narrative for people whose primary experience of the world is sensory.

This day will explore the wonders of the sensory world looking at how sensory stimulation supports cognition, memory, engagement, communication, mental wellbeing and more for everyone. The day reveals the power of narrative and how this can be used in an ambitious way to better include people in society and in life.

Best of all, sensory stories are a lot of fun and can be inexpensively made from everyday items. You will leave ready to take those you care about on fantastic sensory adventures.

Participants said:

"Presenter is clearly incredibly knowledgeable and conveyed this well to the class, using personal experiences to support. I am now much more confident at using sensory stories in class."

"So many great ideas (not involving lots of money spent)."

"Presenter - she lives it, she knows, she shares."

Target Audience

QTVIs, teachers (mainstream and specialist), educational psychologists, support staff, parents/carers.


Joanna Grace, International Sensory Engagement Specialist, Author, Trainer, TEDx speaker, Founder of The Sensory Projects


10.15 am The Wonders of Sensory Joanna Grace
This session explores why we do the sensory things we do and what their impact is on communication, memory, accessibility, mental wellbeing, cognition and more.

11.45 am The Power of Narrative
This session looks at how narrative permeates our lives and shows how stories can be a tool for inclusion, not just a means of entertainment. You will also discover the two ingredients to a really super sensory story.

1.30 pm Sensory Exploration
In this session you'll have a mini sensory obstacle course to complete and we will unpick how to share a sensory story for maximal effect.

2.45 pm A Sensory Surprise
The precise content of this session will depend on you: the delegates in the room on the day, and will relate to interests and questions you have expressed through the day. It will end with a final sensory challenge celebrating the impact of inexpensive sensory resources.

3.45pm Course Evaluations and Close