February 2019 Meeting Recap: Yoga

SNAILS members met at the Oak Park Public Library for a wonderful hands on presentation on
Physical/Occupational Therapy and Storytime Yoga with Kristy England, OT, fromTherapy Yoga Gymnastic Rocks. Curious about how to integrate more intentional movement that can be either calming or alerting, as needed? Watch her excellent presentation and learn how to put together a yoga story.

Kristy's video, on YouTube (55 min)

Oak Park Public Library's Shelley Harris also presented on their new expanded Supported programming classes for kids with disabilities, including why she rebranded as Supported instead of Sensory, plus book representation, autistic communities, #ownvoices, and neurodivergent narwhals.

Shelley's video, on YouTube (51 min)

Fall 2018 Meeting Recap: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

SNAILS members gathered at the beautiful, newly remodeled Algonquin Area Public Library on November 29, 2018 for our fall meeting. In August, members shared their desire to bring more discussion to our meetings, so we began by talking about a couple of picture books.


Benny Doesn't Like to be Hugged by Zetta Elliott
This new paperback title addresses the sensory sensitivity of a little boy as told by his friend. It includes what Benny likes to eat, play, and wear, as well as the sounds he avoids and how his social interactions sometimes differ from others. The book is filled with diverse characters and short, rhyming sentences with a repetitive refrain. It's a solid introduction to unique differences and the importance of accepting friends just as they are.

Isaac and His Amazing Asperger Superpowers! by Melanie Walsh
We discussed use of the word 'Asperger' in this title when the DSM-5 no longer includes a specific diagnosis of Asperger's but instead consider…

Final performance of Handicap This!

Chicago-area locals Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach have been friends for 17 years, and for the last eight they've been touring the nation presenting Handicap This!, an inspirational comedy that challenges stereotypes, breaks down barriers, and sends a message of inclusion where judgement is not allowed.

Mike was born with cerebral palsy and is an organizer of the Keep on Keeping On Foundation to assist people with physical disabilities. When Tim was in his twenties, he was hired to be Mike's one-on-one aide, and they immediately hit it off. On stage, the pair shares an authentic snippets of their friendship and of what it's like to live with a disability.

It is fitting that the final farewell performance will be at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, which is where is all started eight years ago. Help Mike and Tim achieve their big dream of performing to a full house on Friday, November 9 at 8:00pmGet tickets to the final performance, and save $5 by using…

Accessibility Programs at 2018 ILA Annual Conference

There's going to be a whole lot of learning going on this week at at the 2018 Illinois Library Association Conference in Peoria, Illinois, and this year's theme "Libraries: All Inclusive" includes many programs of interest to our SNAILS community.

There is so much to explore from the Diversity and Special Populations conference track in relation to serving patrons with disabilities: from assistive technology to accessible catalogs, databases to employment, programs to physical space, and ideas for volunteerism. With many other inclusive sessions offered concurrently, it's going to be challenging to decide which programs to attend!

Here's a little preview in hopes it may help you prioritize in advance...

Tuesday, October 9

Sensory Friendly: Including Patrons with Autism Spectrum Disorder into the Library
One in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). How do you make sure these patrons, including ASD adults are welcome in your library? Find…

Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More grant

A note from our friends...

Applications are being accepted for the Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More grant now through December 1, 2018.

 This grant honors the groundbreaking work of Libraries and Autism: We're Connected co-founder, Meg Kolaya, for her contributions in promoting inclusion, connecting libraries with the autism community, and bringing awareness of the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families to the library community.

For the fourth year, this grant will award a total of $5,000, with all of the funds either going to one proposal or the amount divided among several applicants, depending on the applications received. All types of libraries, either in the United States or Canada, are encouraged to apply, and proposals will be eligble  that fund projects and/or services directed at any age group. Applicants may propose to initiate a new, creative program or service,  or enhance a program or service they currently o…

SensoryCPL: Chicago Public Library accessibility app

Infiniteach, the developer of accessibility apps for Chicago Children's Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum, has announced the (soft) launch of SensoryCPL, the Thomas Hughes Children’s Library app to support individuals with autism and their families!

Co-founder and CEO Katie Hench said the goal in launching this free app (iTunes | Play) is to help families feel welcomed and supported anytime they visit the library. The app includes text and video social narratives, a customizable visual schedule, an emotions chart, and more. It can be used as a pre-visit planning tool or as a resource to help during a visit.

If you have a few minutes, Katie would love to hear your feedback and ideas for the app as it continues to grow and change.

Which features do you think are most helpful for families?What other features could we add to support families?What else do you offer at your library that individuals with autism really enjoy / appreciate? Katie thanks you in advance for any feed…

Online course: The Disability Community in the Library

The school year is right around the corner, so it's a great time to sign up for class! This fall, S. Bryce Kozla will be teaching a six-week online course called "The Disability Community in the Library: Education, Access, and Advocacy" for the University of Wisconsin-Madison iSchool Continuing Education program.

Different from most courses that focus on how-to's, Bryce's lesson is about recognizing internal bias and and becoming an advocate for the disability community. According to the course description:

Public libraries have taken great strides to become “the great equalizer,” yet our discussions about equity often leave out or misrepresent one of the largest vulnerable populations in the world—the disability community.

This course will introduce participants to the abled/neurotypical narrative, challenge our misconceptions about the disability community, and explore ways to make your library a more accessible place to visit and work.

The course runs from Nove…