Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Autism Resources for Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness Ribbon by BL1961

April is Autism Awareness Month. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control released new statistics: 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism (1 in 54 boys)--a significant rise in incidence since the last estimate of 1 in 110 children. Librarians across Wisconsin have been doing some great work in educating themselves and adapting programs and services to be more welcoming to kids and families affected by autism.

This year, twenty libraries in the Indianhead Federated Library System have joined in an effort to catch up by participating in an LSTA grant. I* have learned so much about Autism Spectrum Disorder and sensory processing issues, and I know it is just a drop in the bucket. I wanted to share a few excellent resources that I think all librarians would benefit from using.

Make Friends with Autism is a project of the Children's Specialized Hospital in New Jersey with the goal of increasing inclusion, understanding, support and appreciation of children and families with autism. There are some excellent videos discussing the challenges of going out in public, and ways for public places to make it easier, along with fact sheets, communication tools, and more.

Most of you already know about Libraries and Autism: We're Connected, a project of the Scotch Plains and the Fanwood Memorial Public Libraries in New Jersey. This is a site that they keep updated with useful links, videos, book suggestions, and information specific to libraries.

One of my contacts suggested looking at the Autism Speaks website, particularly for help when a parent with a newly diagnosed child asks for information, for the following:

Finally (for now!), our own Department of Public Instruction has put together some webinars and other resources that are designed for schools, but are very relevant for libraries!

*Your blogger for April--Leah Langby from the Indianhead Federated Library System

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