The Accessible Chanukah Story

3 December 2018

Chanukah is a special time, and Wendy Yeomans (Intensive Interaction & Sensory Specialist in the Assistive Technology team) has been working to put together sensory story ‘take away’ boxes. The plan is to develop these boxes, with different themes throughout the year enabling our staff to deliver really exciting and interesting sensory story sessions to the people they support. We already have a ‘Fireworks’ box and ideas for the future include ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Sports Day’ and ‘Purim Party’.

The Chanukah story has lots of opportunities for introducing sensory exploration – Wendy will use a wide variety of different sensory and technology items to help tell the magical story of ‘Hershel and the Chanukah Goblins’ based on a story by Eric Kimmel.

The Menorah, the candles and the dreidel’s are all, obviously, going to play a key role – but in addition there is a journey through the cold and snow (opportunity for tinsel, fake snow and ice packs to recreate that chilly experience!). There will be puppets to interact with – we know from experience that the people we support often find it easier to respond to a puppet, which can prompt development in their engagement and communication.

The tricking of the goblins requires squishy eggs (not real!), jars of smelly pickles (we’ll see!) and other smells and sensations to bring the story alive.

With light projection and music the whole story can be made more interactive and exciting.

The aim is to give our staff the tools to deliver these sessions with confidence, so Wendy also provides a book with all the instructions about how to use the different items during the story.

Sensory input is vital to help with developing communication and engagement for some of the more hard to reach people we support – it can be a vital part of learning about the world around us – for people with complex needs we want to provide opportunities for this development. The aim is to enable them to explore new experiences in a safe and fun space to stimulate memory, cognitive and physical skills, as well as providing a platform for social and emotional well-being. The experiences can promote a sense of achievement, success and independence.

We hope that in this way, we can bring many different sensory experiences to homes and services across Norwood.