May 11-12, 2017 Forum

2017 “Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More” Grant Winner Honored at Targeting Autism Forum

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Daniel Flores and Dianne Aimone

Wisner Public Library was the 2017 winner of the “Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More” Grant.  Representing the Wisner Library at the Targeting Autism Forum was YA Librarian, Dianne Aimone.

The Wisner Library will receive $5,000 for their project, “Improve Your Social Library: Social Skills for Tweens and Teens with Autism.  The grant funds will be used to provide a series of workshops designed to support the development of social skills for teens and tweens with ASD.  Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the library, form a book group, enhance their social media etiquette, express themselves through art projects, play board games, take part in a group dance, and more.  The program has three primary goals: introduce and encourage social skills that teens and tweens can apply in the library and beyond; provide those on the spectrum and their families a safe and familiar place in the community; demonstrate respect for neurodiversity and inclusion.

Barbara Klipper, creator of the grant program was delighted at this year’s pick.”…Their parent-initiated proposal was well-written, is easily replicable and serves an often overlooked subgroup of the ASD population…”


2017 Targeting Autism Forum — A Huge Success!

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The 2017 Targeting Autism Forum, held on May 11-12 was educational and offered a  group of library staff, autism and other disabilities service providers, teachers and therapists  from Illinois, as well as, nationwide and Canada, an opportunity to network with over 80 “like minded”  people who share their vision of a world that is inclusive of autism and other hidden disabilities.  While the forum included a variety of topics pertaining to all ages, many of our speakers and panels addressed the issue employment and support for individuals who are transitioning out of high school.

The following includes photos from the forum.  All sessions were recorded and are available on the Targeting Autism YouTube Channel.  Links to individual presentations are highlighted below:

Michael John Carley

Michael John Carley — author of Asperger’s From the Inside Out and Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum.  Carley was also the founder and first Executive Director of GRASP an former Executive Director of ASTEP.  Click here to view presentation,   Part I and Part II.


from left to right: Philip Zupon, Dan O’Hara, Ata Bird, Tina Dolcetti and Russ Bonanno (moderator)

Employed and on the SpectrumA panel discussion with Philip Zupon, Librarian, Ionia Correctional Facility; Dan O’Hara, Librarian, Midlothian Public Library; Ata Bird, Teacher/BCaBA, Champaign, IL; Tina Dolcetti, Librarian, Moose Jaw Public Library. Moderated by Russ Bonanno, The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP).  Click here to view the presentation, Part I and Part II.

Brian R. King

The Role of Relationships in Successful Adulting with ASDBrian R. King, author of Strategies for Building Successful Relationships with People on the Autism Spectrum.  Click here to view the presentation.

Donald Cohen, Colin Eldred-Cohen, Anlor Davin, and Greg Yates

Sparking Creative Expression for Adults on the Spectrum and Ideas for Libraries.  An engaging presentation about the path to creative writing, publishing and the special difficulties that creative people on the spectrum face and how libraries can support them.  Colin Eldred-Cohen, author of children’s book, The Fire Truck Who Got Lost and Anlor Davin, author of Being Seen.  Click here to view the presentation Part I and Part II.

Linda Hodgdon

5 Essentials for Engineering the Library Environment to Meet the Needs of the Autism Community.  Linda Hodgdon, author of Visual Strategies For Improving Communication, autism consultant, referred to as “The Queen of Visuals,” shares how a few easy accommodations can provide significant opportunity for patrons to benefit from libraries.  Click here to view the presentation.

Carrie Banks

Inclusion in the Library: Making it Real presented by Carrie Banks, Director, Brooklyn Public Library’s Inclusive Services and author of Including Families of Children with Special Needs.  Click here to view presentation, Part I and Part II.

Debra Vines, Keisha Hester and Katrina Thompson

Exploring Library Services for Underserved Populations.  Debra Vines, Founder & Executive Director of The Answer, Inc., along with Keisha Hester and Katrina Thompson explore the impact of autism in communities of color and the important charge for libraries to engage all members of their community.  Click here to view presentation.

Carlos and David Ovalle, Arturo Cabral, Philip Marsh, Carlos Espinoza and Virginia Murray

Tu Y Yo’s Dream Libraries.  Tu Y Yo is Grupo Salto’s peer mentorship group for adolescents and adult autism self-advocates serving the Chicagoland area.  The group name Tu Y Yo is the Spanish phrase for “you and I’ which expresses connection to the Spanish speaking cultures many of the participants come from.  Their panel shares ideas to make libraries more inclusive learning environments.  Click here to view the presentation.

Magi Henderson and Janet McAllister

Libraries Providing Work Experiences for Those on the Spectrum — A Report by Magi Henderson, Glen Carbon Centennial Library and Janet McAllister, Rochester Public Library.  Click here to view the presentation.

Beth Paoli and Debra Aggertt

Library Departments Working Together Toward Inclusion — A Report by Beth Paoli, Literacy Consultant, IL State Library, and Debra Aggertt, Associate Director for Library Development, IL State Library.  Click here to view the presentation.

Deadline to Register for the Targeting Autism Forum is April 7th!

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There are still some openings to attend the Targeting Autism Forum, May 11-12th at the Illinois State Library, but we are quickly reaching our attendance limit.  The complete agenda is available here:

2017 Targeting Autism Forum agenda final

If  you are interested in attending, please send an email to Suzanne Schriar with a brief statement about what you hope to gain from the forum.

If  you are unable to attend, all forum sessions will be recorded and archived for viewing after the event.

Author and Storyteller on the Spectrum to Present at the 2017 Forum

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Colin Eldred-Cohen is a creative writer and storyteller, who is on the autism spectrum. Colin is an active member of the Autistic Creatives Collective (ACC), a community of talented creative writers, artists and musicians on the autism spectrum. Colin and his father Donald Cohen will be two of the presenters at the 2017 Targeting Autism forum, held at the Illinois State Library, May 11-12. Among the topics presented, father and son will share ideas about how libraries can help to foster creative expression in the autism community.

Register for the 2017 Targeting Autism Forum!!

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The Illinois State Library is currently accepting registrations for the 2017 Targeting Autism Forum, to be held at the Illinois State Library, Springfield, IL, on May 11-12. Lodging will be provided, May 10-11, at the Springfield Wyndham Hotel (formerly Hilton).  Upon registration, a room will be reserved in your name.  Meals and snacks during the conference will also be provided.  Reimbursement for transportation, however, will only be provided to forum presenters.

As in past years, the State Library can accommodate 80 participants. We would like to encourage participation from those who have not previously attended one or both of the earlier forums.  If you have attended in the past, we encourage you to register early as registration for previous attendees will be on a first-come-first-serve basis.  As always, all forum sessions will be recorded for viewing on the Targeting Autism YouTube Channel.

To register for the 2017 Targeting Autism Forum, simply send an email to Suzanne Schriar and include the following information:

 Subject line: I would like to attend the 2017 Targeting Autism Forum


Job Title:

Place of Employment and address:

Contact Information, including email and phone:

Include a brief paragraph stating what you hope to gain from this forum (see highlights below)

A sampling of the 2017 forum presenters includes the following:

Michael John Carley

michael_john_carley_2 will be our keynote speaker to open the forum on Thursday.  Author of Asperger’s from the Inside Out and Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum (with two other books in production), Carley was the founder and first Executive Director of GRASP and former Executive Director of ASTEP.  He now works as an international autism consultant and motivational speaker.  Mr. Carley also received a diagnosis of Asperger’s after his son was diagnosed.

Brian Kingbrian-king

 is author of four books.  He is an internationally recognized relationship consultant and motivational speaker. He was diagnosed with Aspergers, ADHD and Dyslexia after his 3 boys were diagnosed with ADHD and Aspergers.  King turned his consulting and coaching business into a virtual format to accommodate clients from across the globe.

Carrie Banks

banks-big is author of Serving Families of Children with Special Needs:  A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians (ALA Editions) and has been director of the Brooklyn Public Library’s Child’s Place for Children with Special Needs since 1997.  In 2015, Banks was elected to the Board of Directors of ASCLA as the Designated Director for Special Populations.  An expert in library inclusion, she will present an interactive approach to problem-solve common issues for librarians with regard to autism, diversity, accommodation and inclusion.

Linda Hodgdon

linda-hodgdonis often referred to as the “Queen of Visuals.” Over 30 years in the field as an autism consultant, trainer, author and teacher, Hodgdon’s strategies are practical for every setting.  Two of her practical guides: Visual Strategies for Improving Communication and Solving Behavior Problems in Autism are invaluable resources for educators, librarians, parents and anyone who works with children with autism or other developmental/communication disorders.

Donald Cohen

donald-cohenwho is founder and Executive Director of In the Public Interest, helped to establish the Autism Creatives Collective, a community of talented creative writers, artists and musicians on the spectrum who support each other in their creative endeavors. Cohen is also father to  Colin Eldred-Cohen,colin-eldred-cohen a young adult with autism who has just published his first children’s book.   Together they will deliver an engaging presentation about Colin’s path to creative writing, the special difficulties that creative people on the spectrum face and how libraries can support writers and other creatives on the spectrum.

The Tu Y Yo: Young Adults with Autism Mentoring, Educating and Advocating.  This group of young adults with autism will educate and inspire us all as they share the active roles they take with each other and in their community to address needs for all individuals with autism, especially young adults.

We will have two panel discussions:

  1. Panel on Autism and Employment in Libraries with Philip Zupon, Tina Dolcetti, Ata Bird and Dan O’Hara.
  2. Janet McAllister of the Rochester, Illinois Public Library and Maggie Henderson of the Glen Carbon, Illinois Public Library will discuss providing library internship opportunities for students/individuals on the spectrum.

This and more promises to make for an intensive and engaging forum experience. We hope to see you there!