[kids-lib] Working with Autistic Children
anderson_katie at oslmac.osl.state.or.us
Tue Aug 26 08:41:02 PDT 2008
ALA's Association for Library Services to Children blog has a very useful post about working with autistic children in the library, primarily during storytimes. The poster includes references to a few websites and books for more information.
Here are a few things I pulled directly from the post:
Between 1 and 1.5 million Americans are autistic.
Without a doubt, storytimes with autistic students have been some of the most rewarding programs in my career so far. The kids are smart, surprising, and each time I see them, I learn something new.
Keep in mind that every child with autism is different and responds differently to visual and aural activities. The best way to develop your program is by getting to know the children and talking with their teachers or parents about what works for them.
Some autistic children have trouble making eye-contact or focusing on one object, don't take it personally when children appear to be ignoring you.
Physical contact, even a high-five, can be a very uncomfortable or even terrifying experience for children with certain types of autism.
- Keep things simple and explain what you are doing/are about to do.
- If possible, use picture cards to show how the program will proceed. Being told the order of things seems to help the children settle and feel more comfortable. It gives them something concrete to focus on and a sense of control.
- Do not worry if the children appear to be "zoning out."
- Keep the same routine/outline for each program.
Youth Services Consultant
Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator
Oregon State Library
katie.anderson at state.or.us
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