One of the really standout programs I’ve seen at #PLA2012 was about creating adapted storytimes for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder. With the rate of Autism diagnosis on the rise, this is a segment of our communities that we can’t ignore, and the parents of youth on the spectrum are so desperate for programming for their children. The two presenters, Anne Leon and Meagan Albright from the Sherman Library in Florida, made doing a program like this sound doable (if not exactly easy). More importantly, they emphasized the great value and benefit of programs for ASD youth. Is seems like this work would require many of us to reach outside of our comfort zones, especially if one is not accustomed to being around special needs youth, in order to create adapted, safe spaces for this population. I mean, try and imagine what it would be like to experience extreme panic when the temperature changes a few degrees, or the light gets too bright, or at a sudden loud noise. Anne and Meagan offered practical suggestions and storytime ideas to adapt programs for youth with these sensitivities. If you’d like more information and resources from their program, visit their ASD Storytime site.
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