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Grant Awarded to Albert Wisner Public Library to Serve Teens with Autism

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The “Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More” Grant Committee is proud to announce the Albert Wisner Public Library in Warwick, New York as this year’s grant recipient. As the winner of this grant, the library will receive $5000 for their project “Improve Your Social Life: Social Skills for Tweens and Teens with Autism.”

The “Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More” Grant is sponsored by Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected (www.librariesandautism.org). This grant honors the memory of  Meg Kolaya and her groundbreaking work as co-founder of Libraries and Autism, as well as her contributions in promoting inclusion, connecting libraries and the autism community, and bringing awareness to the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The Albert Wisner Public Library will provide a series of workshops designed to support the development of social skills for teens and tweens with ASD. In this series, 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 said, “I am delighted that this year’s grant winner is Albert Wisner Public Library. Their parent-initiated proposal was well-written, is easily replicable and serves an often overlooked subgroup of the ASD population.  In 2016, we funded projects for preschoolers and for college students. This year, we are funding an initiative for tweens and teens. It is my hope that these grant-winning projects will inspire a wide range of libraries to serve people of all ages with ASD.”

Daniel F. Flores, Ph.D. is from the Judith J. Carrier Library at Tarrant County College in Texas, one of the recipients of last year’s “Autism Welcome Here” Grant.  The college developed a new project to support a successful transition to college students with ASD.  When asked about the impact this grant had on his college community, Flores said, “I am thankful for the Autism Welcome Here Grant. Our Autism Spectrum College Information Talks Project at Tarrant County College offers expert-led forums designed around the research question—how can we facilitate a successful transition to college for students with ASD? My own awareness of students with ASD has grown immensely, and this experience has opened my eyes to the amazing capabilities and gifts of college students with ASD.”

The “Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services, and More” Grant Committee extends their congratulations to Albert Wisner Public Library and to all of the libraries that submitted proposals.

Applications for the 2018 grant(s) will be accepted starting September 1, 2017. More information about the grant can be found at www.librariesandautism.org/grant.

Members of the 2017 “Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services, and More” Grant Committee include Daniel Flores (2017); Renee Grassi (2016, 2017); Barbara Klipper (2016, 2017); Adria Nassim (2016, 2017); Suzanne Schriar (2016, 2017); Debra Vines (2016, 2017); and Dan Weiss (2016, 2017).

 

 

 

 

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

Name:

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!

Targeting Autism in Communities of Color

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Debra Vines, Founder/Executive Director of The Answer Inc. and Targeting Autism board member discusses the challenges faced by her community in accessing autism support and services in an interview with ABC News Correspondent, John Donvan.

 

 

 

Getting Ready for the 2017 Targeting Autism Forum!!

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With the support of grant funds from the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS), the Illinois State Library is very excited to be hosting the third annual Targeting Autism forum on May 11-12 in Springfield, IL. These forums provide an educational venue for librarians and various other autism stakeholders to learn from one another and to elevate the role of libraries in supporting the large population of those impacted by autism.

 

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We are thrilled to announce that one of our keynote speakers this year is Michael John Carley, the Founder, and first Executive Director of GRASP, the largest organization comprised of adults on the autism spectrum. Carley’s presentation will focus on topics covered in his new book “Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum,” Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016.

 

From Michael John Carley’s website:

He [Michael John Carley] has appeared in the media widely, most notably in the New York Times, Washington Post, NY Newsday, the London Times, HuffPost Live, NEWSWEEK OnAir, ABCNews, BBC News, FOX News Network, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Psychology Today, Exceptional Parent Magazine, and on radio with Terry Gross’ Fresh Air, and The Infinite Mind. NPR News also aired a 12-minute story in June of 2006 that featured he and GRASP. Carley was also featured in the documentaries, “On the Spectrum,” and “Off the Rails.” He was one of two people on the spectrum to address Congress in their first-ever hearings on autism, he has addressed the United Nations, and his articles have been published in magazines such as Autism Spectrum News, Autism Spectrum Quarterly, and Autism/Asperger Digest. He has a column with Huffington Post (“Autism Without Fear”) and his first two books, Asperger’s From the Inside Out: A Supportive and Practical Guide for Anyone with Asperger’s Syndrome (Penguin/Perigee, April, 2008) and Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum (Jessica Kingsley, February, 2016) were both released to humbling advance reviews. He has also finished two more books; a) “Why Am I Afraid of Sex?” Building Sexual Confidence in the Autism Spectrum . . . and Maybe Everyone Else!; and b) The Last Memoir of Asperger’s Syndrome.

He was the inaugural FAR Fund Fellow in 2003; and he has since received NYFAC’s Ben Kramer Award (2008), the BCID Award for Service (2009), Columbia University’s Herbert M. Cohen Lecture (2011), and Eden II’s Peter McGowan & John Potterfield Achievement Award (2011). He also proudly sits on the Board of Directors of New York Collaborates for Autism, and the Advisory Boards of GallopNYC, and C.H.A.S.E.

Until 2001, Mr. Carley was the United Nations Representative of Veterans for Peace, Inc. In that time, he was known primarily for his work in Bosnia, and in Iraq as the Project Director of the internationally acclaimed Iraq Water Project. Prior to 2001 he was also a playwright who enjoyed 15 productions and 10 readings of his plays in New York.”

Stayed tuned for more information, including registration details and a complete agenda for the 2017 Targeting Autism forum.

White Paper Describes the Impact of the Targeting Autism National Forums

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Libraries Partnering to Serve the Autism Community: National Forums Offer Direction is the result of two national forums that were convened at the Illinois State Library in 2015 and 2016. The forums, which were funded through the National Leadership Grant (NLG) Program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), exposed the need for libraries throughout Illinois and across the nation to better serve patrons and families affected by autism.

The entire report is available here.

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Targeting 2017 as an auspicious year for all!!!

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If 2016 has been challenging, the New Year always brings us the promise of starting afresh.  We take time to reflect, evaluate priorities and set new goals.  Make one of your resolutions for the New Year to become more active in the discussions about autism and inclusive communities.  Join our discussion list and share your insights.  Add your personal experiences to the rich dialogue.  Each of us has a responsibility to engage with our communities.  Embracing diversity demands open dialogue.  Even the smallest attempt to engage can spark positive change in our world.   In 2017, let’s make a commitment to break down the barriers that divide us.  We can begin with a conversation.