Storytimes for Children on the Austism Spectrum


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Learn about Autism Spectrum Disorder and how to create sensory storytimes for young children on the autism spectrum. Also this is a great webinar for any library wishing to make all storytimes more inclusive for all children.

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  • Started working at DPL in August 2011 and didn’t notice children with evident special needsFirst Sensory Storytime in August 2012Regular program for the foreseeable future.
  • Started by reading what other libraries are doingRecommend visiting schools
  • Parents might become discouraged when children aren’t paying attention while they are reading but it’s important for parents to know that children are learning anyway and to keep tryingresearch suggests that in years past it was believed that oral language was a prerequisite for reading but that has been disproved. Unfortunately the idea is still pervasive so parents might be getting the message that their child has no chance of readingLiterature-rich environment helps any child learn to readproviding modeling for those literature rich activities
  • had an infant up to 7 or 8-years-oldSiblings really enjoy storytime tooInclusive or exclusiveExclusive-gives families a feeling of being among peers I do invite children from the library to join us if we have room. I make sure to ask parents if that’s okay firstInclusive-typically developing peers can act as roll models and they can also learn about differing abilitiesSmall groups are less chaotic and easier for kids with sensory processing disorders
  • Cube chairs about $500 for 10 www.hertzfurniture.combig hit. I’ve heard countless parents walk in and say, “oh look, just like your school”. Provides an environment they are used, so they instantly feelcomfortableHelp kids organize their bodies in space. Provide support for wiggly bodies low tone they also help designate the place the child should sitinstead of saying sit there and pointing to a large blank floor you can say sit in the green cube chair.If you can’t afford them, balance seating disk ( sit on for sensory input or carpet squares, cushions to designate a space for sittingNoise reducing headphones $60 for 5 http.schoolspecialty.comProbably only needed 2. No one has used them yet.One kiddo forget his once and we tried to use ours. He wasn’t interested but it was nice to have the option.Could try cheap ear plugs insteadUnbreakable mirror Bought ten and might use them if we do a story about our mood. Right now we just use one at a time. I’ll talk about that more later Climbing mats and a tunnel-already had StaffingOnly able to provide storytime once a month-weekend program and staffing is low on weekendsA number of the example programs had two facilitators so that they could use two types of visuals for the stories. This also helps with “hands on” activities.I’ve done fine on my own
  • Started by putting out fliers in the library and taking them to local organizations: schools, therapy centers, autism society, Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome AssociationAlso posted on the online calendar and our print calendar. Wrote a few blog posts on our websiteThen…While passing out fliersI talked to people. One school offered to post on their facebook page. Then the Autism Society of Colorado saw it on School’s facebook page and posted it on their pageI posted it on my personal facebook page and an old coworker said she’d promote it in her classroom.Someone noticed it and posted it on Stapleton Mom’s group listservWe also put it in the Colorado Parent Magazine calendar
  • Ask about each child’s likes and dislikes in order to avoid any triggers. Most parents didn’t volunteer a lot of useful info but a number of them thanked me for asking. They really appreciated the extra attention.Provide registrants with a social story about coming to storytime-ATTACHSocial stories help children with autism and possibly other children understand what behavior is expected in a particular social situationWritten for a particular child in mind so I suggest parents add their own pages or pictures to the story (picture of the child at the library).
  • Consistent scheduleSing the same hello and goodbye song every time in order to prime kids-get them ready to participate
  • Greeting people when they come inMake them feel welcomeMany have never come to storytime or have gone to one and never gone back Ask if they’d rather wait in the room or wander around the librarysome arrive very early and others late so I want everyone to be comfortable if they have to wait for a long time.Priming-spending time in room before we begin to become more comfortable with the spaceGive children something to carry into the room-copy of the book, fidget toy
  • Sing hello song and do a little movement before the picture schedule to get wiggles out. Then talk about the schedule. Helps kids know what is coming next. If a child is very uncomfortable reading the story, they can look and see that something else will happen soon. Makes it easier to sit through.Autistic children are often visual and use visual clues to represent activities or concepts.Each time we finish an activity I move the picture from the to do column to the done columnATTACH scheduleBe flexible
  • Got the name song from Barbara Klipper’s webinar. Tune of Where is Thumpkin. Like using the mirror because children get to look at themselves in the mirror and they have to pass it from child to child.
  • Book selectionMultiple copies in the systemToddler/easy prek age. Short and simple with easily recognizable pictures.Easily adapted with things to do or touchBig books are funLiteral meaningRepetitiveBooks to singFunny-napping houseBefore we read the story, talk about it-primeI always read the same book twice and I have enough copies for everyone. Children can share up-close with caregiver-point out things the child is interested inI like to do this so they get the rhythm and feel of the book. Might not work for some children but I think it’s okay to require them to sit through it and see what might be expected of them in school.One boy picked up the book and took a huge bit out of it. Make sure the parents know that’s okay.Then we read the book a second time with interaction or adaptation. The Three Little Fish-bowl with water, sand, seaweed (Nori), piece of wood, paper folded to triangle shark’s tooth. Lunch we tasted food (another reason it’s good to have emails-food allergies). ChuggaChuggaChooChoo we used our cube chairs as train, paper as freight, and climbing mats for the river and mountain.Give parents title before the storytime so they can read at home
  • SongsLots of them and include movement (jumping clapping hugging), scarves or instrumentsBubblesBe careful with instruments. Giving out and getting backOver stimulationParachuteRock a bye Mouse-Lunch“Pass the Bean Bag” recorded by Georgiana Stewart on Action Songs for Preschoolers“The Freeze” by Greg & Steve on Kids in MotionWorks on self-regulationTo doSensory balance beam “Balance Beam” [recorded by Laurie Berkner] on Rocketship Run [CD]Making kid burritos Oral motor workTherabandsWeighted bean bags
  • Room setupTrouble filtering distractions so everything is on a cart and covered by a sheet. Works well. Kids left everything alone until I pulled them out. ipod dock for example.I let parents know they can move the chairs around if they’d like. If their child needs more space.Close the door to prevent escapesProvide an area for children to regroup (chair off to side, our space has window nooks with benches that work well)Lots of sensory inputMovement, hugging self, things to touch or holdTake deep breaths to calm bodiesTransition cuesshake a shaker each time we change activities to give children time to organize and prepare for the next activity-I found this distracting so I use pic schedule as transitionBasic sign language as visual cuesUse a puppetWhen children participate praise their behavior. Allow parents to discipline and monitor their child’s behavior
  • Had parents fill them out at first, second, 4th, occasionally to check in. Really want this program to be about the children and families. I try not to have any ego about the program and if something isn’t working I want to change it.After first session I a parent told me I needed more sensory input. I thought I had enough but I didn’t. Added movement before the first story.Most feedback has been overwhelmingly positiveI’ve had parents tell me that they’ve tried going to regular storytime but get funny looks when their son sits in the corner rubbing his head. They really appreciate that no one bats an eyelash at his behavior
  • Parents might be overly sensitive to negative feedback. I asked a mother if I could better meet her son’s needs and she seemed to think I was criticizing her son.Balance sensory seeking and sensory aversion (under or over responsive)Stay positive and flexibleOnly one person came so I invited others in. No one would participate. Sat and stared at me.Takes time to grow a new programSecond time more kids came but one of them took my outline/plan and pulled pics of scheduleBehaviors you might not beused to. Rocking, rubbing heads. Might not seem like they are paying attention. Non-verbal.Parents are very involved, more so than at other storytimes often. Very happy to participate.Can be intimidating but really fun and rewarding-not that different from what we already do.
  • Boardmaker Share: Find great picture symbols for your storytime for free.
  • Storytimes for Children on the Austism Spectrum

    1. 1. Storytimes and Children on the Autism Spectrum Presented by: Colorado Department of Education Colorado State Library Denver Public Library
    2. 2. Autism SpectrumDisordersIncluding children with ASD into Library SensoryStorytime Brooke Carson CDE Autism Consultant
    3. 3. Materials have been adapted from multiplesources including:• Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence Disabilities (OCALI)• Nancy Miller, OTR, Kansas• Diane Twatchman Cullen• Sheila Smith• Ellen Notbohm – Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wish You Knew
    4. 4. Autism SpectrumDisorders (ASD)Defined ASD is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first 3 years of life. The result of a neurological disorder that affects functioning of the brain. Autism and its associated behaviors occur in approximately 1 of every 88 individuals. ASD is 4 times more common in boys than girls and knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries. Family income, lifestyle and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism‟s occurrence.
    5. 5. Autism SpectrumDisorders (ASD)DefinedASD interferes with the normal development of thebrain in the areas of reasoning, social interactionand communication skills. Individuals with autismtypically have difficulties in verbal and nonverbalcommunication, social interactions and leisure andplay activities. They may exhibit repeated bodymovements (hand flapping, rocking), unusualresponses to people or attachments to objects andthey may resist changes in routines.
    6. 6. Characteristics Impairments in Social Impairments in Interaction Communication Restricted Repertoire Of activity and Interests
    7. 7. What Autism isNot• Autism is not the result of poor parenting• Children with autism are not unruly kids with “just a behavior problem”• Most people with autism are not “savants” as portrayed in movies• Children with autism are not without feelings and emotions
    8. 8. Challenges andDifficulties• Generalizing information: “Did you read this to me before?”• Getting the “big picture”: “I thought you called that letter „d‟? Now it‟s called „dog‟?• Inconsistent perceptions & retrieval: “I know you‟ve asked me that before but I can‟t remember what it‟s called”• Sensory issues: “You call this quiet time so how come I hear that vacuum cleaner running downstairs”• Taking anothers perspective: “I didn‟t know when I pinched your arm that it hurt you. I just needed to squeeze something before I lost it”• Managing transitions & change: “My visual schedule doesn‟t say anything about this lady you call a sub”• Concrete & literal thinking: “Why am I in trouble? You are the one who said „story time is finished‟. You didn‟t say line up and wait for my mom.”
    9. 9. ASD Domains• There is a complex interdependence of cognitive learning style, social understanding, language learning, sensory processing, and communication patterns.• Communication/language/social/sensory skills do NOT emerge as a series of isolated behaviors.
    10. 10. Social & LanguageChallenges• Conveying own thoughts• Using social niceties• Limited eye contact• Giggling, screaming inappropriately• Nonverbal communication• Initiating, maintaining interactions• Literalness/abstract concepts• Perspective taking• Cause/effect• Repetitive phrases, TV jingles• Communication = behavior
    11. 11. Sensory Concernsand ASD Sensory Integration Our bodies and the environment send our brains information through our senses. This information is processed and organized so that we feel comfortable, and secure and we are able to respond appropriately to particular situations and environmental demands.
    12. 12. Adapted from: “Ten ThingsEvery Child with AutismWishes You Knew” by EllenNotbohm My sensory perceptions are disordered • Ordinary sights, sounds, smells, tastes & touches of everyday life that you may not even notice can be downright painful for me. • I may appear withdrawn or belligerent to you, but I am really just trying to defend myself. • A simple trip to the grocery store may be torture for me • I am visually oriented, this may be my 1st sense to become over stimulated.
    13. 13. Adapted from: “Ten ThingsEvery Child with AutismWishes You Knew” by EllenNotbohm My sensory perceptions are disordered (continued) • And there‟s so much hitting my eyes!.. glare from windows, moving fans on the ceiling, so many bodies in constant motion, too many items for me to be able to focus – and I may compensate with tunnel vision. • The fluorescent light is not only too bright, it flickers. The space seems to be moving; the pulsating light bounces off everything and distorts what I am seeing. All this affects how I feel just standing there, and now I can‟t even tell where my body is in space. • All this affects my vestibular sense, and now I can‟t even tell where my body is in space. This may lead me to stumble, bump into things, or simply lay down to try and regroup
    14. 14. BAN THE COMMAND SIT STILL AND LISTEN!! Nancy Miller, 2009
    15. 15. Transitions
    17. 17. General Strategies forSuccessful Transitions• Easily understood and concrete choices – a visual choice board of readily available choices for break/reinforcement• Clearly defined expectations• Extra processing time• Concrete instructions (less verbal, more visual) Schelvan, Swanson & Smith (2005).
    18. 18. Use of Timers• To forewarn that a transition will occur• To indicate the length of an activity• To indicate the length of time a child is expected to stay at storytime
    19. 19. Visual Structure
    20. 20. Visual Supportsa tool that enables the child to keep track of the days events and activities and at the same time helps him or her to develop an understanding of time frame and an appreciation of environmental sequences Diane Twachtman-Cullen
    21. 21. We all usevisual supports L. Hodgdon, 2000
    22. 22. Why we usevisual supports • They organize a sequence of events, enhancing the individuals ability to understand, anticipate, and participate in those events • They supplement verbal instruction, clarifying the information for the individual and increasing comprehension • They can be used to cue communication, providing reminders of what to do and say in a situation
    23. 23. Why we usevisual supports(continued)• Research has shown students with ASD demonstrate strength in visual learning• Demonstrate decreased levels of frustration, anxiety, & aggression related to task completion• Adjust more readily to changes in their environments
    24. 24. “I THINK IN PICTURES. Words are like asecond language to me. I translate bothspoken and written works into full-colormovies, complete with sound, which run likea VCR tape in my head.” (1996)
    25. 25. Visual supportsinclude • pictures • schedules • written words • maps • gestures • labels • objects within • organization environment systems • arrangement of • timelines environment or • scripts visual boundaries • signing
    26. 26. VisualBoundaries• Areas within the library, classroom, home, community, or work environment that may need visual boundaries include play area, group area, break area, and work area.• BOUNDARIES CAN BE CREATED BY: – Blocking off the area with tape on the floor – Physically arranging the furniture to define the area, such as setting up the shelves or room dividers – Placing a carpet remnant in designated area
    27. 27. Storytime, circle, small group Children use color to identify their chair
    28. 28. Take HomeMessage When information is presented verbally, the words are available for a brief moment, but when presented visually the information can be available for as long as the individual needs!
    29. 29. Activity Supports Identifies the activity and tells what is expected
    30. 30. Visual StructureExamples
    31. 31. Final Pointers fromthe perspective ofthe child• Create visuals ahead of time. I need them, you know I need them. Waiting for them makes me stressed!• Label our storytime area and belongings• Can the whole group have a visual schedule so I am not the only one?• Have my storytime planned out by activities and/or minutes• Teach my friends in the group about autism and how to be a friend• Sometimes I don‟t understand when you talk to the whole group. Can it just be me and you working sometimes?
    32. 32. Brooke CarsonAutism ConsultantColorado Department of
    33. 33. SENSORY STORYTIME AT THE DENVER PUBLIC LIBRARY Rachel Hartman, Childrens Librarian
    34. 34. Planning and Research Read about what others are doing Drew on my experience as a ECE teacher in an inclusive setting Observed classrooms at Anchor Center for Blind Children
    35. 35. Program Goals Help children with special needs and their families feel welcome at the library, storytimes and other library events Provide participants with a comfortable, accepting space to develop literacy and social skills Model sensory activities and early literacy skills for parents
    36. 36. Target Audience  Children with special needs and their siblings, parents/care givers  No age limit but geared toward preschool age  Registration required  Limit to 10 children
    37. 37. Materials and Staffing http://www.hertzfurniture.com
    38. 38. Publicity
    39. 39. Registration Provides an idea of how many children are coming Helps with learning names and welcome people as they arrive Gives access to email  To promote future storytimes  Ask about likes and dislikes  Send a social story and let parents know what book we’ll be reading
    40. 40. Schedule Announcements, welcome and hello song Picture schedule Name game Story Sing, dance, and/or circle time Repeat story Sing Closing song Social/play time after storytime
    41. 41. Greeting and Announcements Greet people when then they arrive Announcements  Let them know children can get up and move around, leave the room and come back, or leave early  Let them know they are welcome at other storytimes and library events  Thank everyone for making time in their busy schedule to come to storytime  Encourage parents to participate
    42. 42. Picture Schedule
    43. 43. name game Name activity Where is Kate? Where is Kate? There she is. There she is. Say hellos to Kate. Say hello to Kate. Clap your hands. Clap your hands.Grady over the water,Grady over the sea.Grady catch a fish,He can’t catch me. Mariah’s here today. Mariah’s here today. We’re all so glad Mariah’s here, Let’s all shout hurray!
    44. 44. BooksThe Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Sharkby Ken GeistDog’s Colorful Day: A Messy Story AboutColors and Counting by Emma DoddThe Napping House by Audrey WoodChugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin LewisLunch by Denise FlemingPete’s a Pizza by William Steig
    45. 45. Songs and Movement Sing songs related to the book Play instruments Dance or sing with iPod Cooperative Activity or Circle time movement
    46. 46. Program Implementation Be conscious of room setup Include lots of sensory input Create a flexible, calm, accepting atmosphere Provide positive reinforcement
    47. 47. EvaluationWe want to ensure Sensory Storytime is meeting your needs. Please give us your feedback so we can continue toimprove this program.1. Have you come to a storytime at the Denver Public Library with your child before? Yes No2. How did you hear about this program? Web Flyer Friend Other_____________3. Please circle the appropriate rating for the following: poor fair satisfactory good excellent: Program content 1 2 3 4 5 Program presenter 1 2 3 4 5 Room setup 1 2 3 4 5 Overall quality 1 2 3 4 54. What was your favorite part of this storytime?5. Do you have any suggestions to make this storytime better?Thank you!
    48. 48. Lessons and Opportunities toGrow Stay positive and flexible Balance between sensory seeking and sensory overload Communication with parents
    49. 49. Resources Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected Beyond Barriers : Creating Storytimes for Families of Children with ASD ASLC five part blog series by Tricia Bohanon Twarogowski ALSC Webinar-Sensory Storytime: Preschool Programming That Makes Sense for Kids with Autism The Out of Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Stock Kranowitz The Elephant In the Playroom : Ordinary Parents Write Intimately and Honestly About the Extraordinary Highs and Heartbreaking Lows Of Raising Kids With Special Needs by Denise Brodey
    50. 50.  If you have any questions or ideas, please contact me.  Rachel Hartman   720-865-1306
    51. 51. Thanks for attending the webinar!Please take a moment to let us know your opinionof this view these slides and see additional