I’m a retired speech and language therapist and English teacher, now working as a storyteller, researcher and trainer with adults and children who have severe communication disabilities. My doctoral research investigated the creative use of signing by Makaton users in special schools, and opened my eyes to the ways in which my students were being inventive and imaginative. I started using story in my work in schools when I got dissatisfied with using piecemeal language tasks, and this led to explorations in literature, to find ways of bringing classic texts to life for youngsters with severe and profound disabilities. Ways into Literature, Odyssey Now, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth in Mind are books written about some of these successful projects, many with my friend Keith Park. I left my job at City University to set up a company of storytellers with learning disabilities, now an award winning charity (Openstorytellers).
I travel internationally to give talks and courses, including work with L’Arche Nova Scotia, schools in South Africa, Hyogo University of Teacher Education in Japan, and the University of Vienna. I research legends of disability, and have developed approaches to support personal storytelling by people with severe disabilities, now being extended to work with foster carers, and to give people a voice in local and national politics. Currently I am an adviser to an international project on accessible museums and galleries, and an honorary Senior Lecturer with the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent.
To keep myself sane I enjoy spinning and weaving (of course, I’m a storyteller!), learning Spanish and flamenco (at which I am very slow) and walking in the Wiltshire and Somerset countryside.
Grove, N. et al. (in press) What Peter means to us: researching the past and present of Peter the Wild Boy. In C. Goodey, P. McDonagh, T. Stainton (eds) A history of the ideas of intellectual disability.
Grove, N. et al. (2015) Literature and stories in the lives of pupils with severe and profound learning difficulties. In P. Lacey, H. Lawson, P. Jones (Eds) The Routledge Companion to Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. Taylor and Francis.
Grove, N. (2016) Stories, words and knowing. In B. Gaventa & E. De Jongh (Eds) Knowing, Being Known and the Mystery of God. Amsterdam:VU University Press. pp. 39-51.
Grove, N. (2014) The big book of Storysharing. Speechmark Publications.
Grove, N. (Ed)(2013) Using Storytelling to Support Children and Adults with Special Needs Transforming lives through telling tales. Taylor and Francis.
Grove, N (2012) Story, agency and meaning making: Narrative models and the social inclusion of people with severe and profound intellectual disabilities. Journal of Religion, Disability and Health, 16, 334-351.
Grove, N. (2009) Learning to tell; a handbook for inclusive storytelling. Kidderminster: BILD publication.