Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Toolkit: Autism and Sensory Processing Disorders

The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee is devoting the 2020-2021 calendar year to creating a vibrant, dynamic toolkit that provides ALSC members with up-to-date resources for working with marginalized populations. Each toolkit page will provide professional and leisure reading recommendations, support for programming, and materials for families.  As dynamic documents, these pages will continue to grow and develop as we find new resources, share our experiences, and continue to learn. This month, our focus is serving children who have autism and other sensory processing disorders.  As our understanding of these children and their needs increases, libraries are recognizing an important role in supporting these families in their community.  This may involve specialized resources, adapted programming, and community partnerships to support children and their caregivers.  We are hoping to use this opportunity to bring awareness to the unique considerations of library service to this population, provide support…

Guest Blogger

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: A Milestone….Hopefully, Just a Start

Author Julia Finley Mosca and illustrator Daniel Rieley have broken a barrier with The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin.  One of the first autistic persons to speak publicly about her condition, Dr. Grandin’s insight into the minds of cows, and her perseverance, led her into the halls of corporate America and changed the ethical standards for processing meat.  Dr. Grandin has received numerous honors and written many books.

ALA Annual 2016

#alaac16 Holly Robinson Peete with twins RJ and Ryan speaking on the autism journey

I attended the auditorium speaker series program with  actress, author, and amazing autism advocate Holly Robinson Peete. Talking about their family’s journey with autism since their son RJ was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, Holly and her family have been such an inspiration to many families. Be sure to add their picture book My Brother Charlie and their latest book geared to teens on the autism spectrum Same but Different to your collections if you haven’t already! I will definitely be looking up their reality show For Peete’s Sake on the Oprah Winfrey Network.


Diverse Collection Ideas

A mother recently visited my library to try and find some picture books showing kids with hearing aids for her young daughter. I spent time emailing librarians, tracking down book lists, and even visiting the audiologist for book ideas and donations. Despite my tenacity, I rarely locate good material containing children with any disabilities easily. With the recent #weneeddiversebooks movement, I would say that diversity is a watchword for kids’ books in 2016. I have since discovered some excellent books and resources that I hope will be useful to your library! One great website on disabilities in children’s literature is Here, all of the book reviewers have the same disability portrayed in the books they discuss, and their points are often relevant and insightful. Disability In Kidlit is also full of interesting articles, author interviews, and lists (not vetted) of disability-related titles on GoodReads. I discovered Dave Kot and…


Yoga as a Bridge for Serving a Cross Section of Your Library Population

Serving a diverse community can be difficult, especially when you are dealing with diversity across the physical, mental, and emotional spectrum. Often the social aspect of the library can be off putting for children, and parents of children with developmental disabilities. For children on the Autism spectrum, the child’s inability to regulate behavior can be problematic in a highly structured setting (such as a library program). Children with physical disabilities may feel that they are limited in how they can participate in library programs. But often the simplest programs can be the most effective and by offering a new or unique opportunity the library becomes a safe place to engage in something outside their preconceived limitations. Do you have a pre-set program time for children with disabilities? Do you have a pre-set time for family programs? Consider a family program featuring beginner and child friendly yoga. No matter how you incorporate…

Guest Blogger

Adventures in Storytime — starting a program for children with autism and related disabilities

When you start a new program, you enter it with expectations, some apprehensions and the hope that, in the end, everything will work out positively.  That belief tends to sum up my current situation with trying to muster an interest in our storytime for children with autism and related disabilities.  My colleague, Lisa, and I initiated our first story-time for children with autism and related disabilities which we dubbed “Adventures in Storytime” on the third Thursday in November.  We had marketed the program through flyers, word-of-mouth, and email to Special Education teachers in our area and also our county library’s social media site.    We chose a concept based story, and using the Boardmaker software through the Autism Speaks grant, we put together visuals and some manipulatives which could be used in conjunction with our story. Our book was Dog’s Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting by Emma…

Guest Blogger

Working with preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

It’s the beginning of a new school year. As I look back on the last year with our preschool class of children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder I reflect on what went well and what could be improved upon. The other teachers in my class and I present a daily story time program. In addition to imparting on our students a love of reading and early learning preparation, each program is designed to meet the “Independent Educational Plan” (IEP) goals of each child in our class.  In looking back I can see what worked beautifully, what failed miserably, and which altogether new ideas I’d like to try.  But, while lesson planning is extremely important in our class there may be something else that can make or break a story time with our kids: we need to have the flexibility to adapt to how are kids are feeling while we are…

ALA Annual 2013

An interview with Temple Grandin at #ala2013

On Sunday morning, prior to Temple Grandin’s informative and inspiring presentation at the ALA Annual Conference, I was lucky enough to interview her. Temple Grandin has a PhD in animal science from the University of Illinois and is a professor at Colorado State University. She was diagnosed with autism at age 2 in 1949 and is now, in addition to her other professional accomplishments, one of the world’s most influential and inspirational advocates for people with autism. I was equally terrified and honored to be afforded this opportunity. I polled friends, family, and colleagues about what I should ask. I agonized about whether I’d be tongue-tied and how the interview would go. The interview was great. Dr.Grandin was welcoming, friendly, honest, enthusiastic, and very open. The following are excerpts from our conversation. Is there anything that you believe libraries should be offering or doing to help autistic children? Well, one…