I was inspired to write today’s post by someone who Tweeted me a fantastic question: “One of my staff members has a new goal this year: to learn more about serving special needs populations. Do you know of any good websites or archived webinars for learning more about working with special needs children in libraries?” In fact, I do!
Registration is now open for a webinar hosted by ASCLA, the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies. Led by instructor Kate Todd, this webinar entitled Improving Library Services for People with Disabilities is designed for all library staff, including support staff, general professional staff, age-level or subject specialists, managers and administrators. During this course, participants will identify library users with disabilities at their library and the resources and assistive technologies available to assist them; examine changes in attitudes, laws and technologies that have impacted people with disabilities; and will be able to recommend changes in personal and organizational behaviors to improve services for people with disabilities at their library.
Sensory Storytime: Preschool Programming That Makes Sense for Kids with Autism is an archived webinar available through ALSC led by a librarian friend of mine, Barbara Klipper. Children’s librarians and library support staff in public and school libraries who work with young children will learn about sensory systems and will learn about the different types of Sensory Processing Disorders. Participants will also receive information on how to structure a Sensory Storytime program. The inspiring work that Barbara does with children with special needs continues to amaze me. You won’t want to miss this one.
If you are more bookish, here are two worthwhile reads on learning and using sign language in library programs. Come sign with us : sign language activities for children by Jan Hafer, Robert Wilson, and Paul Setzer is a fully illustrated manual with twenty lively lessons introduces ten target vocabulary words. Try your hand at this : easy ways to incorporate sign language into your programs by Kathy MacMillan shows library programmers how to introduce ASL into programs, explains how to work with interpreters and create marketing efforts, and offers sample programs for people of all ages.
If you are looking to expand your knowledge of people with disabilities and create more inclusive services for people with special needs at your library, this is a great place to start. And if you’ve come across a worthwhile resource on this topic, feel free to share in the comments field to continue the conversation!