I am delighted to announce that beginning September 1st Mary Pelich will be joining the Targeting Autism Team as Autism Consultant and Trainer for Illinois librarians. This position is funded through an IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant to support a second phase of the Targeting Autism initiative. In this new phase, the Illinois State Library is partnering with Dominican University and Syracuse University to develop and implement a comprehensive autism training and education program for librarians.
Mary will be available to provide on-demand library visits to consult and educate public service librarians and administrators on ways to better engage the autism communities with libraries. Among some of the topics that Mary will address, include 1) adapting physical spaces in libraries to accommodate diverse sensory needs; 2) engaging community autism stakeholders with local librarians; 3) developing innovative library services and programs to attract the autism community; and 4) understanding the wide range of characteristics of autism spectrum disorder. Mary will also provide follow-up library site visits and ongoing consultation to 50 Illinois libraries that will be invited to attend a two-day train-the-trainer intensive autism education course at Dominican University.
Mary’s professional background includes working with non-profit organizations and most recently was the Senior Coordinator for The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP)/The Hope Institute. Mary serves on the board of the Autism Society of America, Central IL Chapter and is a most passionate autism advocate as well as the mother of an adolescent son on the spectrum.
Mary will be an outstanding addition to Targeting Autism! Don’t hesitate to contact Mary Pelich to welcome her to the team, to ask her any questions or to make arrangements for a site visit.
Targeting Autism: A Comprehensive Training and Education Program for Libraries is a 2-year project funded by a 2016 IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Grant.