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Fall 2013 Meeting Recap: Sensory Storytime

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Sensory Storytime PresentationsThe fall meeting of SNAILS featured Sensory Storytime presentations by Renee Grassi of Glencoe Public Library and Sue Parsons of Plainfield Public Library. Renee and Sue covered:
the what and why of Sensory Storytimethree different models of Sensory Storytimewhat we can learn from offering Sensory StorytimeBecause Sensory Storytime is a relatively easy way to accommodate children with special needs at your library, we recorded the presentation for you!



In addition to the main presentation, Sue demonstrated a mini Sensory Storytime including her welcome comments, the use of her little bird, Pájaro, songs, crafts, and games. A video of her demo will be included in Sue's upcoming post, so be sure to subscribe to the blog in order to receive an alert when it is posted!

Sensory Storytime Ideas from the Group After the formal presentation and demonstration, we used the group sharing time to talk about our favorite Sensory Storytime components. So many great i…

Sensory Storytime: Begin with ALSC!

If you want to begin developing a Sensory Storytime program at your library, start here at the ALSC Blog.  In fact, that's where I started.  When I first started developing Sensory Storytime at the Deerfield Public Library, I began with researching what models already existed at other libraries around the county.  At the time, there weren't that many other librarians who had been leading special needs storytimes and writing about their experiences in library literature.  Thankfully, I managed to connect myself with two pioneers in our field. 

The first blog post I remember reading was Tricia Bohanon Twarogowski's Programming for Children with Special Needs.  She put together an amazingly comprehensive programming model and wrote about her experiences in a five-part blog series.  Tricia later shared her experiences developing programming for older children in Going Beyond Sensory Storytime: Sensory School-age Programming.  Then, there was Barbara Klipper.  Her Sensory Stor…

iPads for Children with Special Needs

Using iPads with children with special needs is a growing trend.Although there isn’t conclusive research yet on the outcomes of using iPads with children with special needs, feedback from the field is mainly positive.Teachers and librarians who are using apps with children with special needs report improvements in targeted skills.In cases where the child’s skills didn’t improve, teachers felt that the child’s skills also hadn’t decreased.Because children have such varying abilities, skills, needs, and behaviors, the effectiveness of iPad technology will also vary with each child.Instruction and experiences should be individualized.As you consider and/or implement iPad technology in your library collections and programs, here is some current discourse to consider:

·The iPad can motivate children to practice a skill over and over again until they master it.
·Apps can be used to target specific needs and can sometimes be adapted to a particular ability level.
·The iPad is touch screen and …

The Importance of Play

All children benefit from play, but play is especially important for children with special needs.When I first started Playgroups at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library in February 2013, I offered a session specifically for children with special needs on Wednesday mornings (a day and time I had noticed some of our families with children with special needs informally meeting on their own).Our Monday and Thursday playgroups, held out in the Kids’ World department, were well attended (30-50 people each), but my adapted playgroup, which took place in our storyroom, a much quieter and structured space, didn’t attract any customers.I eventually dissolved the Wednesday playgroup for children with special needs and held it in the department like the Monday and Thursday sessions.In addition to the usual crowd, some of my families with children with special needs attended.

Playgroups for children can be either inclusive or targeted toward a special needs population depending on your activities…

Inaugural Meeting Recap

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Surprise! The first meeting of SNAILS was even bigger and better than we had envisioned! Approximately 35 attendees represented 30 libraries, and the crowd was abuzz with excitement about the new group and it's purpose.
After enjoying a beautiful spread of breakfast foods and much needed coffee along with a selection of small goodies (e.g. National Association for Downs Syndrome bookmarks, lists of recommended books for Sensory Storytime and teen programs, and Signing Time demo DVDs), we started off with a lively discussion about public libraries’ role in serving children with special needs. Some interesting comments that came out of the conversation were: The special needs community can be viewed as one piece of each town's diversity pie. Reach out to them just as you would to other groups.We have to be responsive to community need, and that need changes all the time.Parents of children with developmental differences need support and time to network with other parents who fac…

NEW Networking Group: "SNAILS: Special Needs and Inclusive Library Services"

Are you interested in better serving youth with special needs?  Join youth services librarians Holly Jin and Renee Grassi for the first meeting of the newly formed SNAILS Networking Group.  This group will meet in person on a quarterly basis and will connect virtually via blog posts between meetings.  We will discuss...

programming ideas for birth through young adult (age 22)outreach services to youth with disabilitiestraining opportunities for library staffstrategies for partnerships with local agencies assistive technologies and special collections to serve patrons with special needsresources to learn more about accessibility
Youth Services Librarians and YS Staff, Young Adult Librarians and YA Staff, and LTA and MLS students are invited to our meetings. Dates for future meetings are:

Wednesday, November 13 at the Skokie Public LibraryWednesday, February 12 at the Glenside Public LibraryWednesday, May 7 at the Vernon Area Public Library
We hope to see you there!