Programming through Partnership for Adults with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome

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According to the CDC, one in 68 children has autism, and numbers are rising. As these kids turn 21, all of the supports and services they have been receiving under the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) will no longer be available to them.

Kate Niehoff, Program & Outreach Coordinator, Schaumburg Township District Library (STDL), and Targeting Autism Forum participant, will be part of a dynamic panel discussion focusing on a series of programs at STDL targeted on its adult patrons with ASD. 

Representatives from STDL’s community partners, including the local school district, community college, autism resource center, and an involved parent of an adult son with autism will talk about the specific needs of the ASD community and how public libraries across the state can help fill some of the current gaps in service.

This event will be held on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM (CST), Schaumburg Township District Library, 130 South Roselle Road, Schaumburg, IL.

Click here to register:



Targeting Autism Program Panel at 2015 Illinois Library Conference

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Targeting Autism:  Libraries and Community Stakeholders Taking the Lead to Better Serve Residents with Autism on Saturday, October 24th, from 1:45-2:45pm, Peoria Civic Center

I will be joined by an impressive panel of speakers  for a lively discussion about the Targeting Autism initiative, including advice on developing sustainable community partnerships, the power of advocacy, school library research, what we’ve learned from the project, and future plans.

If  you are attending the conference, please join me and other panel members including:

Russ Bonanno, former director, The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP)

Adria Nassim, consultant, speaker, advocate and founder of “Adria’s Village”

Renee Grassi,Youth Department Director, Glen Ellyn Public Library and a 2012 Library Journal, Mover & Shaker

Patti Foerster, Librarian, doctoral candidate, special education advocate, Chicago Schools

Libraries and Autism : Why It Matters!

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The ADA 25 Chicago program was designed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the American Disabilities Act (ADA).  Each day, the ADA serves to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.  As part of the initiative to pay tribute to this historic milestone, the Reaching Across Illinois Libraries System (RAILS), one of nearly 200 ADA 25 Chicago partner organizations, sponsored a series of educational webinars.

On September 24th, Russ Bonanno and I had the privilege of presenting one of the webinars.

The webinar and ppt. slides are available here:   Libraries and Autism :  Why It Matters!

Targeting Autism Forum Survey for School Librarians

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Participants of the Targeting Autism Forum developed a short survey to gather information that will serve to help school libraries address the needs of students with ASD. If you are a school librarian, please take the survey. If you know any school librarians, please share the survey link.

Assisting students with ASD is an increasingly important issue. We rely on input from all ASD stakeholders, including school librarians, to support our advocacy efforts and to pursue additional grant funding.

We need to hear from you! Please take and/or share the survey link:

New dates set for Targeting Autism Forum — March 10-11, 2016

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The new dates for the second Targeting Autism Forum has officially been set for Thursday, March 10 through Friday, March 11, 2016.  The lack of a state budget remains challenging for Illinois, as we continue to wait for a resolution.  We appreciate your understanding and hope that you take advantage of the additional time to collaborate with autism services providers and various community stakeholders.   Direct your attention to the outside community and refer to these questions as a starting point:

  1.  Who are the autism stakeholders in my community?
  2.  What services are provided for individuals and family members impacted by autism?
  3.  What is the demographic makeup of  those residents with autism in my community?
  4.  How can I help my community library to become a conduit to local support services and resources?
  5.  How extensive are the autism education/training needs of librarians and public services staff?
  6.  What does my library currently do to support the patron population impacted by autism?  Is it enough?
  7.  What can I do to ensure that my library is welcoming to residents with autism?

Finally, please share your stories, both positive and negative, using the ‘Contact’ section of this blog.  All stories pertaining to patrons/families impacted by autism and their library experiences are important to the continuation of the Targeting Autism initiative.  Please show  your support by staying connected and keeping the momentum up!

I look forward to seeing you in Springfield, IL, for the March forum!