Connecting with Children

Stories and Puppets

We’re in the process of organising our training for the Sheffcare project and have come across some fantastic books for children looking at memory and dementia.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox is a firm favourite of the Stories for the Soul team. It shows the capacity a child has for supporting someone with memory loss through finding objects for them to engage with.

The second is My Grandma is Magic by Grace Stead. We’ve had the opportunity to meet Grace in person and she is passionate about using creative approaches to support people with dementia. She has written a book about her own personal experience of trying to communicate with her grandma who had dementia.

Around 10 years ago I was thrust into a world of dementia.  I had never even heard the word before, and here I was trying my best to support a Nan with the condition.  3 years later when my second Nan was diagnosed I felt relief that I had been given a second chance, that my new found understanding could help aid support my mum’s mum better.

To help other children who are thrust into this world I have created a children’s book which hopes to encourage people to look at the magical side of Dementia.  ‘My Grandma is magic.’  All too often we spend time dismissing a person with dementia rather than watching with interest to explore with them how they are trying to communicate, much in the same way you might watch a magician.”

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We will be getting copies of both of them to go into our 10 Sheffcare ‘Family and Friends Activity Boxes’. Along with these we will put in puppets, games, natural objects and art materials.

I love puppets as they naturally invite play and interaction. I initially got some when I worked at a care home for families to use but then I saw Grace Stead leading a training with puppets and heard her speak about working in care homes with the residents using puppets as a communication tool. I began to see their potential and this was confirmed when I went to do a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2015 visiting puppeteer Roberto Maranhao in Brazil. I heard how he uses them in a lot of situations, even marriage counselling!

We start our first training on March 5th with the fabulous Sheffcare staff and volunteers. We’re excited to hear their stories and to support them to make families even more welcome. To find out more click below…

Carrie Twist