What’s it like to be an autistic children’s librarian? Maybe it’s time to talk about the positive contributions that autistic people can make to a library, not only as library users but also as front-line librarians.
#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.
Trying something new
A few months back I saw a photo from Hennepin County Library on Instagram. It showed how much fun they had at their Sensitive Family Time — a time for families living with autism to explore the library. As I was looking for a way to partner with our local Autism Centre, I jumped on this fantastic idea. After a few phone calls and emails, we had a date. We opened one of our branches for 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon, just for these families. The families had signed up in advance with the Autism Centre, so we knew who to expect. Staff from their centre attended, and welcomed the families. Our staff were on hand to show them around the library, read stories, and get them signed up for library cards. We had some toys out (I had these already from storytime), and just let the kids roam…
April is Autism Awareness Month – Partner Up to Reach Families in Your Community
Why not make this April your chance to reach out to the families in your community who are affected by autism? Anything you do can make a positive impact: from offering a program like Sensory Storytime to something more passive like creating a display, booklist, or web post. The important thing is that families with children on the autism spectrum feel welcome and included in the life of the library. One way to get families with children with all types of disabilities into your library is to offer an informational program for parents and caregivers. Did you know that in every state there is a dedicated Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) that offers information and workshops about disabilities, special education rights, and local resources for families? PTIs are funded by the US Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs. Some states also have Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRC),…
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…