October 31, 2008

Libraries for Autism!

“Shh!  It’s library time, and we must be quiet,” the mother says to her child.  The child responds by becoming frustrated because he has autism and doesn’t understand.

I love books.  My son loves them too.  Yet, we don’t spend a lot of time in the library.  Nicholas understands what a whisper is, and he also knows what “library time” means.  If he isn’t overstimulated or tired, I know it’s going to be a good visit.

I would love to take him to the library more often, but librarians aren’t trained in accommodating someone on the spectrum.

As parents, teachers, educators, and providers, it is our responsibility to ensure that they are.

We need to take the first step… and maybe, if we’re lucky, the library might beat us to it.

Well, guess what?

Two of them did.   It’s just up to us to spread the word and get our local libraries on track.

School Library Journal, The World’s Largest Reviewer of Books, Multimedia, and Technology for Children and Teens recently reported,

For every 150 patrons at your public library, chances are that one has autism—and most librarians don’t have the experience to deal with them. That’s why the Scotch Plains Public Library and the Fanwood Memorial Library, both in New Jersey, produced a customer-service training video for its staffers to better serve those with autism and their families.

The video focuses on what librarians need to know about autism spectrum disorder and offers specific techniques on how to be more inclusive and comprehensive when interacting with this growing, yet underserved, population.

There is also a website that provides valuable resources and tools.

I encourage you to view the video in its entirety and visit the website.  Then do your part and spread the word.

Contact your local library and get them to take action by implementing a plan to make “library time” an enjoyable experience for all.

Part 1

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGyhKgdr9mU&hl=en&fs=1]

Part 2

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOId-WbHPb4&hl=en&fs=1]

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