Adaptive and Inclusive Programs

Here are some adaptive and inclusive program plan outlines/guidelines that I developed for reference when creating these story times. Please feel free to borrow and adjust to the needs and abilities of your audience. For all story times, I provide a visual schedule with images of our activities on a magnetic board, that I created using Boardmaker software. Boardmaker can be purchased on CD-ROM or via online annual subscription. For more details, read my post on visual schedules. For the youth sensory story time, I set the room up with different movable seating options, using our carpet squares and Educube chairs. Having this movable, optional arrangement will also help to accommodate story time attendees in wheel chairs or adaptive seats (that can be placed over the rug).

SENSEational Story Time
This adaptive story time is especially designed for kids, ages 3-10 years, with developmental delays and their families. The multi-sensory program with visuals is also great for English Language Learners!

1. Hello (Welcome families and let them know it's okay if they need to take an over-stimulation break, unprompted movement is okay, and for some is necessary to self-regulate -- they are still "taking it in." (You can also provide sound-reduction headphones to help reduce sound over-stimulation.) Explain the visual schedule - "I will point to the picture when we are about to do the activity and then put it in the 'all done' pocket when we are done - saying and signing 'all done.' Now you know what we have done and what is coming up next."

2. Welcome song: "The Story Time Ball" - roll therapy ball back and forth to kids while singing
The "Story Time Ball" song
(tune: "Wheels on the Bus")
The story time ball rolls back and forth,
back and forth, back and forth.
The story time ball rolls back and forth,
Let's see who it found. (stop and prompt child or caregiver with ball to introduce themselves)

3. Yoga pose, Mindfulness exercise, or Crossing the Midline exercise (Here's a wonderful article that explains the importance of these exercises: ).

4. Flannel rhyme, ASL sign rhyme (with one sign repeating), or active rhyme

5. Picture book story (stories should be repetitive, rhythmic, and/or interactive) I have found that choosing stories which you can incorporate sensory experiences into is more important than searching for that story that rhymes or repeats. Even better if you find both!

6. Sensory diet rhyme/song (using sensory diet tools to provide additional sensory input, such as stretch bands - my favorite!, bean bags, scarves, parachute, balls)

7. Picture book story

8. Story-related sensory activity (You can also add multisensory experiences while reading your story.)

9. Parachute activity or tactile beam activity (I use the tactile paths made by Weplay.)

10. Goodbye song/stretch (I like "Tickle the Clouds")

11. Play time with toys, discovery bin, or sensory craft

Sensory Story Time for Teens and Adults
This plan was co-created with my colleague in Adult Services, Ed Niemchak. The story time is especially designed for teens and adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. We took some elements from the sensory story time for youth and added more age-respectful elements, such as a more in-depth social element in the beginning, discussing the theme. Ed uses picture books (many great non-fiction picture books!), that have a simple or rhythmic/interactive text and age-respectful illustrations. This story time is held in our large community room, with a circle of chairs and open spots for attendees in wheelchairs, along with tables/chairs in the back of the room for the activity following.

1. Hello

2. Welcome theme: "Today, we are exploring ________. What's your favorite _______?

3. Yoga pose

4. ASL sign rhyme/song, activity rhyme, or sensory diet rhyme

5. Picture book

6. Interactive song

7. Picture book

8. Video/YouTube Clip

9. Social activity time (art project, game, sensory discovery)

10. Goodbye

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