Develop Your Sensory Lexiconary
Develop your sensory lexiconary and learn to use it to promote engagement and communication with those who experience meaning in a primarily sensory way.
This course will teach you about the development of seven sensory systems and show you how to select and organise sensory resources in such a way as to engage Sensory Beings in conversations, whilst also supporting their mental well-being and developing their cognition.
Everyone is welcome on these days but they are particularly suitable for:
People who support individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities.
People who are looking to use sensory communication with individuals in the later stages of dementia.
People who work with babies and children in the early years looking to develop their sensory practice.
Creative individuals looking to develop sensory works to engage with sensory communicators.
People who work in special schools or run groups that support students from special schools.
People with a particular interest in sensory literacy.
Delegates on previous Lexiconaries have included: parents, foster carers, teachers from special and mainstream settings, portage workers, speech and language therapists, CAMHs team members, artists and actors, support workers, staff from hospital education teams, children's hospice practitioners, staff from dementia care settings, people supporting refugees and victims of trauma, people who support babies in the first months of life, staff members from CICs looking to support inclusion in society, social researchers, family members and more. I look forward to welcoming new diverse delegates in the future.
The Super Lexiconary is a two day event that contains all of the information of the Develop Your Sensory Lexiconary together with additional content, in depth discussions and guest presentations from specialists with an insight into the sensory world. It is the most popular event in The Sensory Projects calendar. Get your ticket to the 2023 Super Sensory Lexiconary here.
Previously the Lexiconary has only been available as a ticketed event as its extraordinary nature made it too tricky to take on the road as an in-house experience, however in response to an increasing number of requests we have now found a way to take the show on the road and bring it to you in two parts in all its sensory abundance as the Lex-Lite.
The Lex-Lites will split the development of the following senses Vision, Hearing, Tasting, Smelling, Touch, Interoception, Agency, Proprioception and Vestibulation across two separate days. Precisely which senses get covered on which day will be tailored to your setting and your needs. The days will show you how to apply the knowledge of sensory development to enhance engagement, develop cognition, support communication and promote wellbeing for people with profound disabilities, as well as supplying you with ideas and insights to enliven your current practice.
People have been blogging about their experience of the Lexiconary, you can get an insider perspective from their blogs here:
Little Mama Murphy - Happy Little Hugh - Blog from the perspective of a parent to a person with profound and multiple learning disabilities.
Square Peggee - Blog from the neurodiverse perspective of a special school educator.
CMG - Blog from the perspective of a care organisation.
If you have blogged about the Lexiconary please let us know: email@example.com
A book to go with the course? Try:
Thinking about Ofsted?
Ofsted look to see that your curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulative sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning (EIF 2019 p 9) and that this is done for all pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SIH 2019 P 91). Ofsted also ask that you be ambitious for all pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SIH 2019 p91.)
A colourful jumble of sensory experiences may look appealing but it does not equate to being ambitious for students with complex disabilities. It demands of them that they provide a coherence the provision lacks. This can be a barrier to learning.
Understanding the development of the sensory systems will enable you to plan a coherently sequenced sensory curriculum that maximizes your learners chances of accumulating sensory knowledge and capacity.
This is being ambitious for learners with profound disabilities. Building capacity in this way puts your learners in the best position they can be in with regards to future learning, meaning they are prepared for life (SIH 2019 p 48) and ready to participate in society (SIH 2019 p 92).
Ofsted want to see that your curriculum extends beyond the academic, technical or vocational and provides for learners broader development, enabling them to develop and discover their interests and talents (EIF 2019 p 11). Furthermore they want your curriculum and the work you do outside of it to support learners to develop their character, including their resilience, confidence and independence (EIF p 11). A sensory curriculum structured in an ad-hoc manner will at best be confusing for learners and at worst be entirely inaccessible causing learners to become disengaged or to shut down.
Understanding the development of the senses enables you to evaluate the accessibility of sensory experiences. Pupils consistently exposed to accessible sensory experiences are more likely to engage with their learning and build confidence in themselves as leaners. Burgeoning confidence will in turn lead to increased resilience and independence, all of which put them in a position where they are able to discover their interests and talents and develop their sense of self.
As we strive to be ambitious for our learners it is important that we consider what these traits look like for them and make others aware of this too (we do not simply say that these lofty ambitions are irrelevant in regards to them). For learners with profound disabilities we can view confidence as being exemplified through a willingness to explore the world, not being ‘switched off.’ Resilience is exemplified through repeated effort with a task. Independence is witnessed as they attempt things without help, and show enthusiasm for having a go, even if after initiating the activity they need help to complete it. Clearly presented, developmentally relevant, sensory experiences are a great tool to support us as we look to better support our learners.
CQC’s descriptions of outstanding service describe settings that are creative and innovative, staffed with exceptionally well trained people who empower those they work on behalf of. They speak of settings seeking out current best practice and ensuring all their staff have access to the learning. Outstanding settings recognise the preferences of their residents and are constantly on the lookout for new ideas.
Considering a sensory lexiconary, i.e. a language of the senses, is in itself creative and innovative, the Lexiconary has CPD accreditation and the feedback from past delegates indicates that the quality of the training is exceptional. By understanding a person’s sensory communication abilities you can empower them to engage and communicate more than before. The Lexiconary is informed by current research and is suitable for all staff. The information contained within it will help staff to identify the sensory preferences of the people they work on behalf of, and through the creative activity suggestions that pepper the day they will find new ideas to engage with the people they work on behalf of.
In terms of effectiveness (FKQ) a service that does not recognise the communication skills of the people it supports puts a limit on how effective they can be. The information in the Lexiconary will enable staff to have a better understanding of people’s needs and preferences (E2.1) which in turn will inform other decisions and strategies used within the service (E3.2 E5.1 E6.3).
Being able to share simple sensory conversations empowers staff to connect with residents who cannot access communication through traditional means (C1.2 C1.3) and to enable those same people to exert greater independence in their lives (C3.5) at whatever level is appropriate to them. Having a strong awareness of the sensory world can inform how we communicate during joyful times and also at more serious times (R3.3). The Lexiconary gives insight into how someone’s sensory needs and preferences (R1.5) might change as their condition progresses and as they reach the end of life (R3.3)
Through developing your sensory lexiconary you can develop and improve your practice as a whole, learning how to better support those with the most complex disabilities and gaining insights that will inform your practice as a whole.
FKQ: Care Quality Commission’s Five Key Questions
References: Care Quality Commission: - Key lines of enquiry, prompts and ratings characteristics for adult social care services