The Policy Discussion page of the blog is meant to provide an online platform to encourage dialogue on library policy issues regarding the treatment of those patrons with ASD or other developmental disabilities, who may exhibit unusual affect or behavior, a lack of attention to hygiene or a meltdown from anxiety or sensory overload. Librarians confront these issues regularly, often without a clear grasp on whether a given situation should be regarded as dangerous, unacceptable or accommodated as a benign manifestation of a neurological difference.
A lack of understanding of non-neurotypical behaviors can easily result in mistreatment and rudeness toward patrons with ASD. Worse yet, easily resolved issues can escalate into full-blown crises, when librarians and public services staff lack the skills needed to effectively interact with patrons on the spectrum. Libraries have a responsibility to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); yet compliance with ADA for individualized and “hidden” disabilities, as evidenced with ASD, is not well understood.
In an attempt to break down barriers and help libraries become more inclusive of patrons with neurological differences, please use this page to share your experiences, questions, viewpoints, wisdom. These are complicated issues and we all benefit greatly from learning about and reacting to real life/real library scenarios.