Autism Course Developed by Project PALS is Available on WebJunction!

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Thanks to the leadership and efforts of Nancy Everhart, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Florida State University, a series of four independent, self-paced instructional modules intended for librarians and library staff to learn how to better serve their users on the autism spectrum is now available, nationwide, on OCLC’s WebJunction.

Dr. Everhart, (Targeting Autism board member and participant), is co-director of a two year IMLS funded program, Panhandle Autism Library Services (PALS) to improve information services for rural patrons who have an ASD.  PALS is funded by a Laura Bush Professional Development grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

As described on the PALS website, the course Serving Library Users on the Autism Spectrum, now available on WebJunction, includes the following modules:

Module One: About Autism in the Library

      By the end of this module, you will be able to:

      • Identify at least five observable characteristics that individuals with ASD might exhibit in a library setting.
      • Define autism and three recent facts in the identification and prevalence of the disorder.
      • Recommend three current resources that would support individuals with autism and their families in being successful patrons in the library.
      • Describe at least 3 situations in which the library can increase community involvement for individuals with ASD.

Module Two: Arranging the Library Environment

      By the end of this module, you will be able to:

      • Make recommendations for potential improvements to areas or activities in the library to better meet the needs of individuals with ASD.
      • Construct visual supports to encourage communication and independence in the library of ASD patrons.
      • Develop environmental alternatives to increase participation of individuals with ASD.

Module Three: Communicating with Individuals with Autism

      By the end of this module, you will be able to:

      • Develop opportunities for social interaction and communication between staff and patrons with ASD in the library.
      • List strategies to promote communication and prevent or decrease disruptive or challenging behaviors of individuals with ASD.
      • Identify how to use augmentative/alternative communication strategies to support independence and participation in the library for patrons with ASD.

Module Four: Interacting with Technology

    By the end of this module, you will be able to:

    • Describe situations in which the library can provide services to parents or caregivers related to technology.
    • List strategies that the library can use to enhance the experience and independent utilization of technology and social media for individuals with ASD.
    • Describe situations in which the library can facilitate appropriate technology training for individuals with ASD.

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