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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Autism and Libraries

 Kelly Davis has an article titled "Unlocking Potential: Innovative Library Programs Enhancing the Lives of Autistic Individuals (h/t Amy Williams).  From the article:

A library can create inclusive, welcoming, and supportive environments to begin helping their autistic community. Some simple ways to create this environment include being tolerant of behavioral challenges, asking them how you can help, providing a safe and quiet area when they become overstimulated, creating a fun play area that isn’t just for toddlers, and installing soft lighting. Signage can also mark the library as a welcoming environment for autistic individuals. Libraries can post signs that say “autism-friendly” and other signs with information about autism for other library users who want to become more sensitive to those with autism. Additionally, learning how to communicate and interact with individuals with autism can make them feel welcome. Some basic communication tools include avoiding open-ended questions like “What book would you like?”. Instead, library staff can ask more direct yes-or-no questions like “Would you like to look at the new fiction books in the children’s section?”. Individuals with autism also feel more welcome when you learn their names and talk directly to them rather than the person they are with.