There is no “one size fits all” accessibility solution for youth with disabilities and their families. That said, there are some tips and strategies I invariably subscribe to when working in youth services and advocating for accessibility. Here are my 10 tips. What are yours?
Number 10. When creating summer reading program promotional videos or other library videos on YouTube, add your own closed captions.
Number 9. Communicate directly with the patron—rather than the parent, caregiver, interpreter, or support staff.
Number 8. When providing behavioral expectations or guidelines, be direct, concrete, and use plain language.
Number 7. Meet kids where they are. If they want to walk around the room or use a fidget during a program, let them.
Number 6. Listen and provide wait time before repeating a question or statement. Not everyone processes information at the same rate.
Number 5. If your library provides sign language interpretation upon request, post that information on your library website along with clear
directions of the process. Be sure to include the contact name and email address for patrons ask follow-up questions.
Number 4. Provide and promote your library’s Request for Reasonable Accommodation form and process. Make sure there are print copies in your
library, as well as a digital version of the form or way to submit the information virtually.
Number 3. Always put out a few chairs during storytime programs. Not all caregivers want to or can sit on the floor.
Number 2. If a programmer or vendor offers a sound system free of cost, use it. Sound systems can help with both amplification and sound clarity.
And Number 1. No matter how loud your “storytime voice” is, especially for large audiences, remember to always use a microphone if you have the option.