This sensory story for Autumn was adapted from the popular children’s book “The Leaf Man” by Lois Ehlert. It’s a perfect Autumn literacy lesson for students with profound and multiple learning difficulties. The story script comes complete with a list of suggested sensory props.
- A sound recording of strong wind (you can download free wind sound effects at Freesound.org.)
A BigMac communication device with cow sound effects.
- Free cow sounds can be downloaded from Freesound.org.
- Cover the BigMac with material that represents a cow. I found a green car shammy in the dollar store which I thought felt and looked like grass — lovely and tactile for VI students.
A BigMac communication device with chicken sound effects.
- Free chicken sound effects can be downloaded from Freesound.org.
- Cover the BigMac with feathers to represent the feathers on the chickens.
- You can put this in a tray and add water, or you could put some compost and water in a sealable bag to squish if some of your students don’t like to get their hands dirty.
A water toy and a sound recording of a river
- You can download a number of different sounds of water in the environment at Freesound.org.
- Switch adapted fan, a handheld fan, or a battery operated fan
Apple and pear puree
- You can make your own or buy the small jars of baby food from the supermarket. If your students are not able to taste, use a little apple or pear flavored lip balm. You can purchase most flavors on Amazon.com.
- A big key, a bunch of keys, or your object of reference in school for home time.
Introduce the story by listening to the sound recording of the wind.
|Sensory Story||Sensory Prep|
|Leaf Man used to live near me, in a pile of leaves||Explore the tray of leaves, scrunch, listen and feel.|
|but yesterday the wind blew Leaf Man away, he left no travel plans.||Using a switch adapted fan, let the students activate the fan to feel the breeze for wind, watch and listen to the leaves blowing away.|
|The last time I saw him, he was heading east past the chickens||Support the student to activate the feather covered BigMac to hear the sound of the chickens.|
|towards the marsh||Support the student to explore the wet, cold soil for the marsh.|
|Well Leaf Man’s got to go where the wind blows||Using the switch adapted fan, support the student to activate the fan.|
|Is he drifting west above the orchards?||Smell and feel an apple, taste some apple puree. Smell and feel a pear, taste some pureed pear.|
|Or past the spotted cows?||Support the student to activate the BigMac to hear the sound of cow noises.|
|Maybe Leaf Man is flying along the river following butterflies going south.||Listen to the sounds of the river/water recordings. Let the student feel the cold water.|
|When Leaf Man looks down on earth is he lonesome for a home?||Object of reference for home (e.g., big key, bunch of keys). Leave a pause at the end of the sentence.|
|This I do know! Where a Leaf Man will land, only the wind knows.||Listen to the sound of the wind recording.|
I have shortened the story a little to make it a more suitable length for the students that I work with.