What people have said about the Targeting Autism Forum

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Below is a small sample of the comments received by the University of Illinois Research Office from a survey of Targeting Autism forum attendees:

“All the formal presentations were fantastic, inspiring, enlightening, engaging–I can’t say enough!  But I also want to note that the informal in-between times, chatting with people at our tables, was extremely valuable in terms of sharing ideas and inspiration, making connections and discovering new resources.  Thanks for getting so many great brains in one place!”

“…Such a wealth of information and ideas is an amazing thing to be a part of to help me grow personally and professionally in the library system…”

“…I am now more likely to take proactive steps on behalf of our library serving people on the spectrum.  It was especially inspirational meeting people on the spectrum…”

“The forum in March 2016 was very instrumental to not just myself but several other southern Illinois librarians who attended.  The smaller populations and budgets of our libraries make it more difficult to provide services and information to our patrons.  The March 2016 Forum demonstrated that every library can be autism aware and proactibely work toward making its staff and programs ASD friendly.  The awareness that the southern Illinois librarians gained from the forum is just the beginning of a change in the way we understand and provide services for our ASD patrons.”

“Even though I am the parent of two teens with ASD and a former Special Ed teacher, I struggled with knowing what accommodations were needed and how to implement them.  Some of this struggle can be attributed to lack of understanding from my superiors.  So, the fact that a forum on just this one topic was offered combined with my interest and excitement afterwards has changed the level of resistance.  Now I have great examples of what is needed and can be done in a library .”

“I see the library as a great community resource to offer services in a neutral, non-stigmatized setting.  A place for integrated activities to build awareness and acceptance of people of all abilities.”

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for people on the spectrum, their families and the entire community!  It’s something that needed to have happened a very long time ago.  I’m just pleased to see that it is finally happening!”

“…It’s [the forum] expanded the idea of what kind of resource the library can be for families living with autism, and helped me appreciate the importance of serving patrons throughout the transitions in their lives, from child to teen to adult.”

“It [the forum] has helped me realize the value of our service to individuals with ASD.  Being a relatively small library, we are the only real resource for these individuals and their families.”

“It has helped to reinforce the idea that as a community center the library can be the perfect place to promote awareness, acceptance, inclusion and help to move others to this perspective.”

“The Forum has helped me understand that libraries should be the place where people libing on the spectrum are welcome and able to experience new assistive technology like the apps and social robots.”

“I learned a very valuable life lesson while listening to the speakers.  We all have behaviors/characteristics that could be ASD.  Most of us learn to compensate for those behaviors.  For that one person in sixty-eight who can’t compensate, we as libraries need to step forward, make accommodations, and let our patrons know that libraries are for everyone.”

“The forum helped me to understand the important role of the library as community center for all people.  I learned so much and would love for my  coworkers to have some of this information to give them a better understanding and awareness of people on the spectrum and their families.  I am happy  to share with them the things that I have learned, but I feel it would be important for them to have more first-hand experience with people on the spectrum as well as training by professionals in the field.”

“…Libraries can be leaders in the field of inclusion and accessibility for people with ASD.  And this forum opened my eyes to what potential impact libraries could have across the state if we unify, are trained, and collaborate.  Thank you ISL!”

The next Targeting Autism forum will take place in April 2017.  Please send any additional comments and suggestions for next year’s event to Suzanne Schriar.

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