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:

ASD Training and Consulting Opportunities Available for Libraries!!

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From October, 2015 through September, 2016 as part of the Targeting Autism grant project, Russ Bonanno, project partner and Director, The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) is available to schedule a limited number of consulting and training opportunities for interested libraries.

russ bonnanoServices include:

  1. providing on-site introductory level training sessions in the understanding of autism;
  2. consulting and providing technical assistance in developing needs assessments related to autism; and
  3. consulting and providing technical assistance in developing programs or evaluating modifications to better meet the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

This is a great opportunity for librarians and all public services library employees to receive expert consulting services and training at no charge!  To get on the schedule and ensure a session at your library, contact Russ Bonanno at your earliest convenience.

AUTISM WELCOME HERE: Library Programs, Services and More Grant

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Library Programs, Services and More Grant

Applications are now being accepted online
Submission deadline is December 1, 2015

For more information and details about this unique grant opportunity please see:

Each year, a total of $5,000.00 will be awarded. Depending on the applications received, one grant for the full amount or multiple grants for smaller amounts may be awarded.

Any type of library can apply, and the proposal can fund projects and services for any age group. Applicants may propose to initiate a new, creative program or service, bring an already existing, successful program or service to their library for the first time, or enhance a program or service they already offer. All programs or services proposed must benefit people with autism or their families, directly or indirectly. Funds may be used to hire a trainer to present a workshop, to buy program materials, to pay for staff, etc.

Applications will be judged on the basis of:

  • The project is clearly described and well thought out.
  • There is institutional support for the program or service.
  • People with autism, family members or other community stakeholders are involved in the
    development and/or implementation of the project.
  • The program is one that would be replicable in other communities.
  • The program or service is based on an understanding of the needs of people with autism
    and/or best practices in working with this population.
  • The service or program will be sustainable after the end of the grant period.

Please direct any questions to Barbara Klipper:

Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected is honored and excited to be sponsoring this new grant opportunity that honors the groundbreaking work of Libraries and Autism co-founder Meg Kolaya for her contributions in promoting inclusion, connecting libraries and the autism community, and bringing awareness of the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families to the library community.

This grant is an outcome of the Illinois State Library’s broad and ambitious project, Targeting Autism: A National Forum on Serving Library Patrons on the Spectrum. The grant is funded by Barbara Klipper, retired librarian, consultant and trainer, and the author of two important books, Programming for Children and Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ALA Editions, 2014) and The Secret Rules of Social Networking (AAPC Publishing, 2015).

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!

Libraries and Autism: Why It Matters!

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On Thursday, September 24, 2015, 1:30-3:00pm (CST) Russ Bonanno, Director, The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) and I will present a webinar, titled, Libraries and Autism: Why It Matters!  Registration information is available on the L2 calendar of events.

Description:  Libraries play a number of roles within their communities, which leaves them uniquely positioned to provide resources and services that can greatly benefit community members with autism spectrum disorder and their friends and families. This webinar will introduce the Targeting Autism project spearheaded by the Illinois State Library and funded by a grant from IMLS. Beginning with a brief overview of autism and how it may impact libraries and library staff, the presenters will discuss the rationale behind this project, future project plans, and how libraries can benefit from their involvement in this project.

This webinar is hosted by the RAILS Library System and is included as part of ADA 25 Chicago series of webinars developed to commemorate this year’s 25th anniversary of ADA.