• English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
Back to Firefly Blog

Special Needs Families: Storytelling

Special Needs Families: Storytelling

As it turns out, I had never heard of it because we live in the United States, and storytelling week takes place in the U.K.

The subject was intriguing anyway as my background includes early childhood and elementary education.  I was a kindergarten teacher for the four years prior to having our first child.

As an educator, I understand the importance of reading aloud to children, even before they are born.

There are so many fun ways to get children involved in storytelling, even if they are non-verbal or have other special needs that prevent them from reading a book aloud themselves.

Here are some fairly simple suggestions on ways to include your entire family in storytelling week.

1. Choose a story.

The entire family could choose a favorite book or story to be the focus of your storytelling week.  Or, everyone could name a favorite story to be told on different nights of the week celebrating Storytelling Week.

2. Think of fun ways to tell stories. 

If I was doing this with my family, I would simply read the book aloud the first day.  The next day we would make up a silly song about the story being told.  Another idea is to tell it in different voices, like whispering, or talking like a mouse.  Using homemade puppets to tell the story in the form of a puppet show is a fun way to retell the story.  Or act it out yourselves!  I like the idea of learning sign language for a phrase or word that occurs over and over in the book.

3. Find ways to include and involve your child with special needs in the storytelling. 

Just because your child may be nonverbal doesn’t mean he or she cannot participate in the fun.

Our son is nonverbal.  He can tell wonderful stories without saying a word.

One way he does this is through his facial expressions and body language.  Another way we can involve him in telling stories is with the use of tools.

He has a switch (found here) called the Step-by-Step that allows us to program up to five phrases.

When the switch is pushed, a phrase is played.  We have programmed a phrase from a story that is repeated so he can push the switch when it is time for the phrase to be read.

We have also programmed parts of a song so that each time the switch is activated one part of the song is sung, until the entire song is through.

Another way we have used it is recording the phrase “turn the page.”  Our son can then push the switch when it is time to turn to the next page of a book.

Take advantage of the fun available to your family during Storytelling Week.

Maybe check out a local play or story time at your local library.

Or, create your own fun with some of the ideas above with your family.

Here is the Society for Storytelling website with some additional materials and ideas.

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

Angelyn Harrenstein

Meet Our Blogger

I am a wife and mother to two children. I believe there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

View Angelyn’s Profile

Become a Firefly Blogger

Would you like to write for Firefly? Join our blogger network of parents, therapists and professionals.

Get In Touch

Become a subscriber today

Join over 40,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter with insightful articles just when you need them.

Join Mailing List

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies. Click here for more info.

Accept & Close

No Interest if paid in full in 4 months on

Purchases on £99+

UK Customers only. Subject to credit approval. See terms below

Paypal Credit

Pay now or pay over time with PayPal Credit. Just use PayPal Credit in PayPal checkout.

Subject to credit approval.

Purchases of £99+:

No Interest if paid in full in 4 months on purchases of £99 or more.

  • A minimum monthly payment is required and may or may not pay off the promotional purchase by the end of the 4-month period.
  • No interest will be charged on the purchase if you pay it off in full within 4 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the purchase from the purchase date at the Purchase APR applicable to your account.
  • Any remaining balance due after the 4-month promotional period or any transactions under £99 will be charged interest at 19.9% p.a. (variable).

Purchases of £98.99 or less:

Buy now and pay over time with PayPal Credit when you spend £98.99 or less.

  • If you pay your balance in full each month by the payment due date that is on your statement, you can avoid paying interest.
  • Or, make minimum monthly payments, or any additional amount of your choosing, until you've paid off your balance according to your standard account terms. Please note, interest charges may apply.
  • We'll send you email reminders when your payments are due. You can also keep track of your account and view your statements online at any time.

About PayPal Credit

  • PayPal Credit is a reusable credit line available on purchases at thousands of stores that accept PayPal. It's also available for purchases on eBay and exclusively at thousands of other online stores. Plus, it comes with the same security and flexibility you trust from PayPal.
  • In order to maintain the 0% offer, you need to keep up monthly repayments and stay within your credit limit. Credit subject to status. Terms and conditions apply. UK residents only.

Please wait...