Showing posts from 2014

Targeting Autism: A National Forum on Serving Library Patrons on the Spectrum

Illinois needs librarians!  Make a difference in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community and participate in Targeting Autism, the Illinois State Library's ground-breaking grant project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Service.

In September of 2014, the Illinois State Library received a $100,000 National Leadership Grant (NLG) award to hold two inter-organizational forums to develop strategies to increase the role of all types of libraries to support their patrons and family members who are impacted by ASD.

Two forums will be held on March 4-5 and September 3-4, 2015 at the University of Illinois in Springfield.Participants will include roughly 80 individuals who represent libraries, autism organizations, educational institutions and a variety of other stakeholder groups.

This is a wonderful opportunity for librarians across the state to apply to be a part of this process.  There is a limited amount of spaces for forum participants, so don't miss out!Appl…

ALSC/Candlewick Press "Light the Way" Grant

Do you have an innovative new program or service that requires funding? Are you looking to serve youth with disabilities in your community more inclusively?  The ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved” Grant is a great opportunity for your library!

The Light the Way Grant was formed in honor of Newbery Medalist and Geisel Honoree author Kate DiCamillo. The spirit of the award honors the themes represented in her books.  The award itself consists of a $3,000 grant to assist a library in conducting exemplary outreach to underserved populations through a new program or an expansion of work already being done. Special population children may include those who have learning or physical differences, those who speak English as a second language, those who are in a non-traditional school environment, those who live in foster care settings, those who are in the juvenile justice system, those who live in gay and lesbian families, those who have teen paren…

Author Ron Suskind Event in Wilmette

Wilmette Public Library is hosting Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Ron Suskind. Mr. Suskind and his wife will discuss his latest book, Life, Animated: a Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism,which is a memoir about raising their son and learning to communicate with him through the scripts and songs of Disney movies he new by heart.

Ron Suskind
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 7:00pm
Wilmette Park District's
Community Recreation Center
3000 Glenview Road
Wilmette, IL 60091

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required. Books will be available for purchase from The Bookstall. Signing will take place after the program. For more information, see the event page.

Don't miss Handicap This! at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie

Grab your calendar and circle Saturday, November 1 because you do not want to miss Handicap This!

What started out as a friendship between Mike Berkson (who has cerebral palsy) and Tim Wambach (who does not) grew into a partnership and a passion to make minds handicap accessible. Through their comedic theatrical performances, Mike and Tim share the message of inclusion and tolerance, often bringing audiences to laughter and tears.

Handicap This! is playing at North Shore Center for Performing Arts in Skokie on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 8:00pm.Tickets are $26.00 and $36.00.

If you plan to go, please leave a comment below so I can share the coupons that were dropped off at Skokie Public Library and we can meet up before the show!

Facilitating Play Workshop at November Mtg

The fall meeting of SNAILS will be held on Wednesday, November 12 at Batavia Public Library at 9:30am. We're looking forward to seeing all of our west suburban friends and hoping library staff from the other local suburbs will join us as well. We'll be hearing a short presentation about Lekotek's play therapy services, professional memberships, and library programs; meeting Jo Kaeding, a librarian and PhD candidate from Australia; and learning about Batavia's library services for children with special needs.  Please RSVP to . 

 After lunch, from 1:00 to 3:00pm, attendees are welcome to stay for a two-hour workshop led by Lekotek play experts.   This two-hour workshop will be offered at $25 per person, if we have a minimum of 22 people in attendance.  If more are interested in attending, the cost will be less. Please email by Friday, October 24 if you are interested in attending.  We'd love to have a great group!

For an overview of the Facilitating Play…

Board Game and Pizza Night for Tweens of All Abilities

Today's guest blog post was written by Paula Shapiro.  Paula is currently a Youth Services Librarian at the Deerfield Public Library in Deerfield, Illinois.  Thank you, Paula, for making this fantastic contribution to the SNAILS community!

I always have loved working with tweens. I think they are interesting, funny, insightful andoften trying to find a way to fit in.With that said, as most of us can attest, it can be tough to be a tween! There is not a lot of programming out there for tweens with special needs and I believe that this type of programming is important and beneficial to kids of all abilities. With the help of our wonderful teen librarian, Nina Michael, we started to plan our first program: Board Game and Pizza Night For Tweens of All Abilities.
The vision was to have it be a buddy-type program where we paired up neuro-typical tweens with tweens with special needs.  Here is the visual schedule (from Boardmaker) that I made for the evening:

How did we get this program …

Online Learning Opportunity: Children with Disabilities at Your Library

Don't miss Webjunction's upcoming FREE webinar entitled "Serving the Underserved: Children with Disabilities at Your Library."  This presentation shares inspiring programming and innovative ideas for libraries to serve children with special needs.  It is hosted by Renee Grassi, Youth Department Director at the Glen Ellyn Public Library.

Click here to register!

: October 21, 2014

Time: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PMEastern Daylight Time (1-2:30 CST)
Webinar Description
:  Whether large or small, rural or urban, all library communities serve patrons with special needs. Developing an awareness of and sensitivity to children with disabilities is crucial for providing top-notch library services. This webinar shares inspiring programming and innovative ideas for new services to target this special population. Learn about what online resources are available for staff to serve children with special needs more fully, and explore strategies to reevaluate and make new accommodations i…

Summer 2014 Meeting Recap

The Deerfield Public Library hosted the August SNAILS meeting at their redesigned library. Tamara Kaldor from Chicago Play Pro was the featured guest speaker who shared information about using apps with children with disabilities. We also welcomed Paula Shapiro, Youth Services Librarian at the Deerfield Public Library, who shared what her library has done to serve children and tweens with special needs. Below is a recap of the meeting, but be sure to stay tuned for a forthcoming blog post highlighting in more detail Paula's innovative buddy program for tweens of all abilities.

Using Apps with Children with Special Needs
Tamara is a developmental therapist and advocate for people with disabilities at Chicago Play Pro. Her primary focus is working with children with special needs, but for the last several years, she has worked with librarians to help train and promote accessibility and inclusion in public libraries. As she explained during her presentation, "When I think about …

Share your story--blog for SNAILS!

Visiting High School Special Education Classrooms

"Thank you so much for visiting my class today and creating such interesting lessons. Every student asked me when you’ll be coming back! We appreciate all your time and effort.  You are awesome! It is so wonderful that you and the library are making a clear effort to our students that they are welcome and wanted. When can we schedule another visit?"
I received this lovely message from a teacher after I visited her class. As part of the School Outreach team, I visit classrooms frequently over the course of a school year. However, this instance was particularly rewarding because it was one of my first visits with our local high school’s special education department. Since then, I’ve been back many times and have formed wonderful connections with teachers and students. Every school and every group of students are different and you’ll want to adjust your plan to best fit their needs, but here are a few things I keep in mind before a school visit. Familiarize yourself with the stu…

iPad Workshop

SNAILS member Sarah Okner of Vernon Area Public Library invites you to the following program this August:

Using iPads with Children with Special Needs
(For Parents and Teachers) Monday, August 11, 2014, 7:00pm Vernon Area Public Library 300 Olde Half Day Road Lincolnshire, IL 60069
Explore multiple strategies for using iPads to enhance communication and relationships for children with special needs. This workshop - designed for parents, teachers, and caregivers - demonstrates early literacy apps as well as those that build play skills. There will be time for questions.
This program is free and open to all adults, but registration is required. Register online, by telephone at 224-543-1486, or in person at any service desk in the library.

Spring 2014 Meeting Recap

Vernon Hills Public Library hosted our spring meeting on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 in their beautifully redesigned library. We covered a lot of ground in a few short hours, so if you weren't able to attend, please take some time to soak in this recap.

Leap into Literacy Rita Angelini, founder of Leap into Literacy, shared the history and mission of her organization as well as the process of creating an adaptive book by translating the text into Boardmaker™ symbols, laminating the pages, and adding page fluffers. About a dozen suburban libraries have already received a donation of these books, and Rita is working with volunteers and SNAILS to provide them to many more libraries. To see which libraries already carry Rita's books, as well as the books' titles, visit the new Leap into Literacy website

After Rita's presentation, a conversation ensued about the extra time it takes for Technical Services to catalog and process adaptive books. Due to the books' modified for…

Temple Grandin is coming to Chicago!

I'm so excited -- Temple Grandin is going to be in Chicago this month, and there's no charge to see her!! Thanks to Family Action Network, she will be making two presentations in the near north suburbs on May 21, 2014:

"Autism and My Sensory-Based World"
4:00pm (educator focus)
New Trier High School, Winnetka Campus
Gaffney Auditorium
385 Winnetka Ave., Winnetka, IL 60093

"Different Kinds of Minds"
With her mother, Eustacia Cutler
Moderated by Molly Losh, Ph.D., Northwestern University 7:30pm (general public) Welsh-Ryan Arena, Northwestern University 2705 Ashland Ave., Evanston, IL 60208 Registration requested for evening event.
Believe me, you don't want to miss this opportunity! Temple Grandin is an incredible woman who has redesigned the livestock industry and redefined Autism in America. She is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and the author of many books, including her most recent, The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum. If y…

Winter 2014 Meeting Recap

Our winter meeting was held on Wednesday, February 12 at the Glenside Public Library.  Thank you to our hosts and to all of those who attended for your contributions to our discussions that day.  It was great to see you!  Here’s the meeting recap, with a video of JJ’s presentation:

JJs's List
JJ Hanley from JJ’s List spoke to the group about Disability Awareness.  JJ’s List is a website that collects reviews for people with disabilities, similar to Yelp.  Visitors can post information and reviews.  It’s a resource for people to use to find out how disability aware a business is.  The Directory includes at least 23 industry sectors, including libraries.  JJ encouraged the group to post our own reviews of area businesses as well as to add our libraries to the directory.  Contact Sarah Armour (sarah(at) to help you manage your profile.  JJ’s List will also work with you to help your library get a Disability-Aware Business Seal of Approval.  Check out the JJ’sList blog, too.…

Resources for Expanding Accessible Services & Programs at Your Library

Library services for children with disabilities are continuing to expand by leaps and bounds.  In the last year alone, three separate professional resources have been published specifically targeting this exact topic.  Each of these three books has something incredibly meaningful to contribute to our profession, and all of them are worthwhile purchases for your library's professional collection or your own bookshelf.  Check them out!

Programming for Children and Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder 
Written by Barbara Klipper
Purchase a copy HERE at the ALA Store
Programming for Children and Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder is unlike anything else I have even seen in professional library literature thus far.  Not only does it contain in-depth background info about autism and suggests methods for securing funding, it features step-by-step program models from librarians across the country.  These detailed program models are complete with lists of books, rhymes, songs, resources, an…