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Save the Date for the 2018 Targeting Autism Forum

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save the date

The 2018 Targeting Autism Forum will be held on Thursday, May 17-Friday, May 18, 2018, at the Illinois State Library, 300 South 2nd Street, Springfield, IL.

Details are forthcoming. Stay tuned!

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Would you consider participating in a new initiative that connects libraries and populations with hidden disabilities?

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The Targeting Autism grant project is seeking librarians and disabilities stakeholders who would be interested in participating in a future Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant proposing to develop libraries as community anchors in serving individuals and families with hidden disabilities.  The project plan will be to organize multi-stakeholder teams from across the nation to receive training in a variety of formats beginning with one intensive three day in-person workshop.  Follow-up consultations with a disabilities trainer would be provided via phone, Skype and in-person, when possible. Additional components include a template of online training tools developed as part of Syracuse University’s Project ENABLE and monthly online seminars. Ongoing opportunities to engage with one another and share best practices will be provided via an online discussion platform.  The overall purpose of this project is to teach cultural competencies in working with disabled members of the population by developing a training model which can be distributed and adopted nationwide.

If you are either employed within the library  profession, a disabilities services provider or self-advocate who would be interested in participating in this future initiative, please send an email to Suzanne Schriar, indicating your interest.  Include a brief statement about why you think this training initiative is important.

Finally, this is NOT a commitment to participate. At this time, we are only trying to assess interest in this iniative.

Thank you!

Sign Up for Autism Basics Webinar

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autism-basics

Please reserve 10:30-11:30AM on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, for an informational webinar about serving individuals on the autism spectrum. This session will cover topics including what is autism, why it is important for librarians and literacy providers to know about autism and how to create an inclusive learning environment. An opportunity for questions will be provided at the end of the session.

To attend, simply send an email that contains the message: “Sign me up for the webinar” to Suzanne Schriar by Friday, September 22rd. 

The online webinar will be delivered using Adobe Connect Pro. To join the meeting, go to http://webjunctionillinois.adobeconnect.com/autism101/ about 10 minutes prior to the webinar. Enter as a Guest and sign in with your name and your agency’s name. You will be able to listen through headphones or speakers and type in your questions. If you are unable to attend the live session, this webinar will be recorded and posted to the Illinois State Library website.

Prior to the Connect Pro meeting, test your connection by clicking on either of these links:

https://admin.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm

or

http://webjunctionillinois.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm

Contact Suzanne Schriar (217-785-1533) or Mary Pelich (217-782-0974) with questions.

Autism Basics: A primer for librarians & literacy providers

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Please reserve 10:30-11:30AM on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, for an informational webinar about serving individuals on the autism spectrum. This session will cover topics including what is autism, why it is important for librarians and literacy providers to know about autism and how to create an inclusive learning environment. An opportunity for questions will be provided at the end of the session. 

 The online webinar will be delivered using Adobe Connect Pro. To join the meeting, go to  http://webjunctionillinois.adobeconnect.com/autism101/ about 10 minutes prior to the webinar. Enter as a Guest and sign in with your name and your agency’s name. You will be able to listen through headphones or speakers and type in your questions. If you are unable to attend the live session, this webinar will be recorded and posted to the Illinois State Library website.

 Prior to the Connect Pro meeting, test your connection by clicking on either of these links http://isl.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm or

https://admin.acrobat.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm.

 Contact Suzanne Schriar (217-785-1533) or Mary Pelich (217-782-0974) with questions.

Mokena Public Library Serves as a Model of Community Inclusion

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For over fifty years, the Mokena Community Public Library has provided inclusive programming for their residents. They have adapted to the changing needs of their diverse community while remaining a central informational and social hub for the village.

Cathy Hoffman and Kathy Ruggio, library staff members, attended the 2017 Targeting Autism forum in Springfield to explore how the library might address the needs of patrons and families impacted by autism. They left the forum with great ideas about adapting services in her library. Wasting no time, they pitched the ideas to the board of directors.  With the green light from the board and Library Director, Cathy Palmer, they embarked on an exciting mission to make Mokena Public Library truly inclusive.  Seeking advice, they contacted Mary Pelich, Autism Consultant and Trainer with the Targeting Autism Project, for a professional consultation.

Mary toured the Mokena Public Library on July 27, to assess their space and discuss ways to make their library more welcoming for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. During the consultation, all explored the possibility of converting several spaces into “calming environments” by making just a few inexpensive adjustments.  Lighting was considered as well as noise levels, neighboring library departments, furniture options, privacy and signage for the space.  They also looked at the children’s story/activity room, a large, dedicated area full of tables and chairs with built-in work spaces.  For children with sensory sensitivities, however, it is rather busy-looking and is too large for use with a smaller group.  Ways to partition the space, adapt the lighting, make it more comfortable and minimize visual content were discussed.

In addition, staff is working with nearby libraries to learn about any inclusive services and programs that they are currently providing. Several libraries in the region are partnering to offer special programming on a rotating basis so that families in the larger community have a weekly option for special programs, such as sensory storytimes.  Toward this end, the Mokena Public Library Children’s Department is planning to offer a monthly sensory-friendly program.  Staff members from the Children’s Department are also working on adapting activity kits for circulation.

Collaborations are underway with local service organizations in the area. Partnering with service providers will lend expertise for environmental or programmatic changes in the library. The library will then explore ways to enhance or adapt their programs and services specifically for individuals and families connected to the providers.  In this way, they hope to reach children, adults and families that may have never used the library before.

Because community access to reliable resources plays an essential role for public libraries, the Mokena Library has prioritized the development and expansion of an autism resource center. Parents, caregivers, educators and residents will be able to rely on well-vetted resources along with the personalized assistance of librarians and staff.

Clearly, the Mokena Community Public Library strives each day to achieve their mission as the most welcoming and inclusive library possible. The staff is dedicated to forming alliances with their patrons in order to serve them with information, access to useful resources, and opportunities for socialization and personal growth.  They successfully collaborate within the Village of Mokena and the greater community to find opportunities that will engage people and get them excited to use their library.

If you would like to know more about the Targeting Autism project’s consultation and training opportunities, contact Mary Pelich.

Targeting Autism is supported by an LB21 Institute of Museum and Library Services grant and the Illinois State Library.

Autism Welcome Here Grant Program is Making a Difference

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One significant outcome of the first Targeting Autism Forum in 2015 was the creation of the Autism Welcome Here Grant Program conceived by Barbara Klipper during a small group brainstorming session about strategies to help libraries become more inclusive of the ASD population.

 

For five years, beginning in 2016 a total of $5000.00 is awarded to a library or libraries for developing initiatives that benefit individuals with ASD and their families. The winners are invited to the annual Targeting Autism Forum, where they introduce their projects to other librarians and representatives of organizations serving people with ASD.

The 2016 winners included the Simsbury (CT) Public Library and Tarrant County College, Fort Worth, TX.  To see how their projects have made an impact on their local communities, visit the Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected web page.

A Call Out to Libraries Offering Programs for Individuals with Autism!!!

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Please take time to share your offerings with us.   Whether it’s sensory storytime, job coaching, gaming nights, sensory friendly movie nights, etc…

We want to know what programming makes your library inviting to individuals with autism so that we can share, nationwide, evidence that your library is an autism welcoming place.

Targeting Autism has a unique opportunity through a collaboration with Autism Speaks to promote your programs on their website event calendar.

Tell us who you are, where you are located and what programs make your library autism friendly.

Please send your information to Suzanne Schriar