Blogger Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers

Did Anyone Get Burnt This Summer?

As librarians, this is always our busy season. Camps are winding down, families are back from vacations, children are getting restless and bored, parents are getting stressed out, and back to school is on the horizon. These pressures can really take a toll. While we are busy working with children during our work day, imagine those who have the job of caregiver both day and night. All staff can face the summer burnout, and as a manager I try to keep an eye out for stressed out staff, but I also look for signs in parents and caregivers as well. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison found that mothers of children with autism had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to mothers of children without disabilities. Such hormone levels have been associated with chronic health problems and can affect glucose regulation, immune functioning, and mental…

Blogger Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers, Blogger Renee Grassi, Library Design and Accessibility, Professional Development, Projects & Research, Special Needs Awareness

Serving Children with Disabilities in Libraries: A Beginner’s Guide

Where should I begin? This can sometimes be the most challenging part about developing library services to children with disabilities.  In fact, the most common question I receive is about where to start.  While there isn’t a one-stop-shop when it comes to expanding your knowledge in this area, I’m pleased to say that there is a plethora of resources out there that can help you on your journey to becoming an advocate for children with disabilities.  Basically, what that means is that the first step is to learn.  And you’re in luck–here are some of my favorite resources to help you do just that!

Blogger Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers, Programming Ideas, Special Needs Awareness

A Special Needs Summer?

Families that include those with special needs can sometimes struggle with finding inclusive programming. Librarians often feel pressure to provide programming exclusively for special populations. But that’s not necessarily the case. Just having an open and welcoming atmosphere can be all that it takes to make your current programs accessible for everyone.  Are you doing what you can to offer programs for all children? Don’t know where to start? As a programmer, ask yourself the following questions: The location of the program- Are the rooms bright and cheerful without being overwhelming with too many sights and sounds? A calm environment is important for children with sensory issues. Is light distributed evenly? This is important for children with low vision. Is the room accessible and clutter free, with clear pathways? Most mobility equipment requires a four to five foot turning radius. Are there a variety of seating options? Large bolsters and…

Blogger Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers, Storytime

Sensory Storytime Progression

In early 2012 I decided I wanted to create a Sensory Storytime at my branch. After watching a few webinars, making contact with the Autism Society of Central Virginia, and talking with local teachers I began to design my program. I decided it would run in three week sessions on Saturdays and that I would offer it quarterly. It was designed for children on the spectrum ages of 3-6 years. I checked out our copy of The Out-Of-Sync Child Has Fun by Kranowitz and selected a variety of activities that I thought would work. Our Friends bought us awesome play items including no spill toddler bubbles. Our first Sensory Storytime was in October 2012. I was blown away by the response! The most phenomenal part for me was watching parents talk with each other while their children played after storytime. They were all dealing with similar struggles and it was…

Blogger Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers, Technology

Begin Your Sensory Storytime Today!

Many librarians that I have talked to are reluctant to start a sensory story time. Familiar refrains that I’ve heard go something like this:  I don’t know the first thing about children with special abilities; I don’t have specialized training; I don’t want to do the wrong thing and upset a child who already has special needs; I didn’t go to library school to do sensory storytimes; don’t I need a really big grant in order to secure materials for something like this? Much has been written about how to begin a sensory storytime. We won’t cover that here.  There’s plenty of stuff out there for you research, plus we’ve included some references below.  However, you should know that you’re probably already equipped to do a sensory storytime right now!  Joshua Farnum, the play, and active learning specialist at Chicago Public Library has started a string of successful sensory storytimes…

Blogger Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers

A Public Library, Trained Volunteers and an Early Childhood Center Partnership – Providing One-on-One Language Support to Enhance Early Literacy Services for Special Populations

Does your library offer one-on-one early literacy outreach to special populations? Skokie Public Library aspires to creatively reach the youngest members of our diverse community.  We provide storytime outreach to preschools and early childhood centers, but these visits are limited in scope and are generally performed for larger groups of children.  Realizing that group dynamics limit the effectiveness of dialogic reading, we set out to create a space for regular, one-on-one, interactive reading in a child care environment. How did we achieve this goal while being mindful of staff capacity? We partnered with a like-minded and respected early childhood center to send trained volunteers to reach each child.  The volunteers cultivate one-on-one relationships through their weekly visits where they read, rock, sing and play with the children.  By sharing these experiences the children bond with the volunteers and develop a love of language. We initially targeted children ages 0-3, being…