New Targeting Autism Facebook Page!

Posted on Updated on

A new facebook page has been created to provide an online forum to foster discussion and support for libraries to become more actively inclusive of the large patron population of people touched by autism. The facebook page is titled:  Targeting Autism: Helping Libraries Serve Communities Touched by Autism. Please “Like,” post and share widely!

The Future of The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP), a Key Partner in the Targeting Autism Initiative, is Threatened

Posted on Updated on

Hundreds of families in the Springfield area and thousands across the state face the possibility of abruptly losing services for their autistic children after an immediate $1 million budget cut by Gov. Bruce Rauner.  The complete story is available here.

March Forum Concludes – Russ Bonanno Thanks Group for Participating in the First Forum of its Kind in the Country!!

Posted on Updated on

Russ Bonanno (TAP) goes over the group’s marching orders to prepare for the September forum.  Suzanne Schriar and State Library Director, Anne Craig make a few final remarks.

March Forum – Concluding Remarks

A Panel of Service Providers Discuss the Importance of Needs-Based Collaborations and Statewide Partners — March Forum, Day 2

Posted on

Panel participants:

Kristin Gharst, Family Resource Coordinator, TAP Program at CTF Illinios

Jan Pearcy, Associate Director, Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education

Misty Baker, Director, Eastern Illinois University Child Care Resource & Referral

Debbie Einhorn, Director, Family Matters Parent Training & Information Center

This panel served as a successful model of collaboration.   They talked about the economic necessity of forming collaborations, finding out the needs of families, and finding people that are willing to work with you.  The economic need for forming partnerships to deliver support services for the ASD community cannot be overstated.  As Debbie Einhorn pointed out, “…unfortunately, we live in a state (IL) that doesn’t put a high priority on disability services… ranking second to last in the nation on dollars spent on disability services….”

Panel on Needs-Based Partnerships to Support Individuals with ASD


Jim Runyon Says You Must Have “Fire In Your Gut” to Keep the Momentum Going!! — Day 2, March Forum

Posted on Updated on

Jim Runyon, Easter Seals,  Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Governmental Affairs addresses the following questions:

  • Why is a community needs assessment crucial?
  • How do you identify your service gaps?
  • Who are your key stakeholders?
  • What age group and geographic region are you trying to engage?
  • How do you identify collaborators?
  • How do  you engage people where they are and keep them engaged?

Jim also stresses that having “fire in your gut” is key to a sustainable initiative. Jim Runyon, Easter Seals, Speaking on Community Needs Assessments (3 parts) Jim Runyon – Targeting Autism March Forum, Day 2, Part One Jim Runyon – Targeting Autism March Forum, Day 2, Part Two Jim Runyon – Targeting Autism March Forum, Day 2, Part Three

Mark Nolen of WayMark Systems discusses the survey comments with the group – March Forum, Day 2

Posted on

Mark Nolen leads the morning forum discussion by reviewing the survey comments and looks at challenges and opportunities for collaboration.  Mark tells the group, “…Don’t disregard negative responses, even if they are few in number… Know about them, plan for them and move forward wisely…”

Mark Nolen, WayMark Systems – Survey comments and discussion

Does Library School Education Prepare Librarians to be Actively Inclusive? Some Great Initiatives and Much Work Left to be Done!

Posted on Updated on

Panel presentations and discussion on the status of library education and training offered on ASD and related developmental disabilities.


Sujin Huggins, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Library and Information Science, Dominican University .

Wei Gao is a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at UIUC.

Nancy Everhart, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Florida State University, College of Communication and Information, and director of the school library media program and the Partnerships Advancing Library Media (PALM) Center. Dr. Everhart is co-director of a two year IMLS funded program, Panhandle Autism Library Services (PALS) to improve information services for rural patrons who have an ASD.

Ruth Small, Ph.D., Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Information Studies at Syracuse University, founding director of Syracuse University’s Center for Digital Literacy, and director of Project Enable (Expanding Non-Discriminatory Access By Librarians Everywhere), a three time IMLS funded Laura Bush 21st Century Grant recipient that began in 2010 as a collaborative project of Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, Center for Literacy, and Burton Blatt Institute.

Library School Education and Autism Spectrum Disorders