Communicating With Children Using SmellsBy Midgley, Carol; Times Online,
Publication Date: October 22, 2009
Article reports on a program using scents as a way of communicating with children who have severe disabilities. The program is implemented at the British Seashell Trust School, a facility offering specialist provision for students between the ages of 2 and 19 years with multisensory impairments and with multiple learning difficulties, autistic spectrum disorders, and physical and medical conditions. A fragrance manufacturer was enlisted to create scents and infuse them onto small cardboard squares used to enable the children to communicate via olfaction. Children can discern smells such as that of chocolate or strawberry to indicate a preferred milkshake flavor, or school staff can use the soothing scent of vanilla to calm a student down. A square infused with the complex scents of salty air, wet sand, and ocean spray can communicate to a child that a trip to the shore is imminent. Plug-in fragrances are also used to help children understand days of the week: Monday smells of lemon, and Tuesday of lavender. The program provides a form of olfactory language to children who have very limited means of communication. The program’s inventor, the head of the school’s sensory unit, won the 2008 Special Needs Teacher of the Year award.
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Link to text: http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article6884494.ece