This graph shows the increased prevalence rates of Autism in the United States.
Schedule Board from “Rhythm and Rhyme” Storytime at the Matthews Branch of the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, NC. This visual assistive technology is used to provide children with the order of events in the program. This helps them become familiar with the environment and anticipate what will come next in the program. It uses laminated picture cards made from Boardmaker software.
http://dpi.wi.gov/pld/ysnpl.html – this resource and planning guide for Wisconsin Public Libraries provides useful tips and guidelines for providing programs and outreach to special needs youth. It states they are “designed to provide guidance and practical suggestions to public libraries to ensure that all youth with special needs have appropriate, convenient and equitable access to materials and technology at public libraries to meet their informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs.”
http://www.lekotek.org/ – The National Lekotek Center is a leading source that uses the concept of interactive play to promote literacy and learning in children with disabilities. On the website, information can be found about its services (such as its lending libraries), the toy industry, packets with play ideas and more.
Philip Burt, MLS [email_address] Storytime Programming & Outreach to Children on the Autism Spectrum and Their Families
Autism <ul><li>A pervasive developmental disorder that impairs one’s abilities to communicate and interact with others. </li></ul><ul><li>– Sensory impairments </li></ul><ul><li>– Repetitive behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>An autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a series of disorders that share common features but have symptoms that range in degree of severity. </li></ul>
What are some features & characteristics? <ul><li>Lack of ability to engage in conversation with others </li></ul><ul><li>Won’t make eye contact </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulty expressing needs, or responding to social or body language cues </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed interests, language and methods of play. </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next </li></ul><ul><li>Behaviors such as hand flapping and rocking </li></ul><ul><li>Adversity to high-pitched sounds </li></ul>
Assistive Technologies Devices and services that improve the functional capabilities of children with developmental disabilities. As children with ASD generally exhibit strengths in visual processing skills, it’s critical to address this strength when presenting storytimes.
Storytime Programming & Outreach Why Storytimes for Children on the Autism Spectrum? Why Public Libraries?
Programming / Outreach: Rhythm and Rhyme Storytime (Sensory Storytime) <ul><li>Target population – primary audience being pre-school to early elementary school-aged children on the autism spectrum and their families. </li></ul><ul><li>Parent feedback – addressed specific issues of children, helped determine the best time for program and provided program feedback. </li></ul><ul><li>Partnerships – included the Autism Society of North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County Chapter and the Allegro Foundation. </li></ul>
Programming / Outreach – Techniques <ul><li>Double Visuals – reading the book, while using a prop (flannel board, puppets, etc.) to promote literacy through more than one visual channel. </li></ul><ul><li>Musical Activities – low-key music activities, with props, scarves or beanbags may help improve motor skills. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. cmlibrary .org/programs/special_needs/default.asp </li></ul>
Programming / Outreach – Tie-Ins <ul><li>Autism Awareness Month (April) </li></ul><ul><li>Paws to Read </li></ul><ul><li>Books & movies with autistic characters </li></ul><ul><li>Puppet shows </li></ul><ul><li>Summer Reading Clubs </li></ul>