Whether or not you take part in the religious celebrations of Easter, long weekend gives you a chance to reflect a good bit. Alright I’m a stay at home mother so long weekends can come and go with very little deviation from the routine but the addition of himself to the household for an extra day is much appreciated.
As I spent a good bit of my late teens pondering over what course my life would ultimately take, I did work experience with St Michael’s House. Without hesitation I can tell you that they are a fantastic organisation, a number of friends are employed there at the moment and they deserve every single bit of support they can get.
St Michael’s House is a community-based voluntary organisation. Founded by parents in 1955, the organisation has grown to become one of the largest providers of services to people with an intellectual disability in Ireland. Today St Michael’s House provides a range of specialised services to over 1,663 children and adults with an intellectual disability and their families through 170 community based centres in the greater Dublin area.
So when St Michael’s House contacted me to tell me about their Sensory Stories initiative the first thing I did was to contact a friend who works for them with the target age range.
Her eyes lit up.
She became really animated.
I knew that this was something important to her work and to the children. She told me how the Sensory Stories are a key way to include children of all abilities in a story and how they love taking part in reading this way.
The idea of the sensory stories is that you not only tell a story to a child by reading a book but that it’s complemented by aural and visual aids that the children can get involved in. For example, if you tell a child that a dog barked, you can press a button to hear the dog barking. This, in a way is providing a story in all dimensions. I can go on about how I interpret it but I think that the team from St Michael’s House put it better than I ever could:
The Multi-Sensory Stories pack is an imaginative sensory developmental aid for young children with intellectual disabilities and their families. The idea for the pack came from two of the organisation’s home teachers, Mairead Naughton and Maria Nolan, who work with young children with intellectual disabilities and their families. The aim of the pack is to improve children’s sensory development and awareness. Each pack contains specially written stories and a range of props that bring the story to life by touch, smell, sight and sound.
The initiative was launched as part of the “Bring a Book, Buy a Book” fundraising initiative at the start of March, however the need for fundraising doesn’t just go away when it ended a few weeks ago. You can find information how to donate over on their website and you can see the books in Ballymun, Coolock & Goatstown Libraries.