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Final performance of Handicap This!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…

Adaptive Umbrella 2018 workshop

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Our friends at Bloomfield (MI) Public Library are doing amazing work for children with disabilities, and we're all invited to attend their biennial Adaptive Umbrella workshop.

This day-long workshop is geared towards librarians, educators, and caregivers working with youth who have special needs (including some great ideas and resources for inclusion of teens and adults with disabilities).



Date: April 25, 2018, 9am-3:30pm

Place: Bloomfield Township Public Library, 1099 Lone Pine Road, Bloomfield Township, MI 48302

Price: $25 including lunch
Register online by April 16.



Program Highlights:
Dr. Clayton Copeland (Faculty & Director of the Laboratory for Leadership in Equity and Diversity, University of South Carolina) will present on making your library services, collections, and programming more accessible for people of all ages.Child development specialist and award-winning children’s musician, Jim Gill, will show us how to add music to our programs that is inclusive of youth with sp…

Spring 2018 Targeting Autism Forum

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Registration for the 2018 Targeting Autism Forum is now open! This fourth and final two-day intensive will take place in Springfield, Illinois on Thursday, May 17 and Friday, May 18, 2018. 



Suzanne Schriar and Russ Bonanno will kick off the two-day forum and introduce the keynote speakers:

Susan Senator
Journey Into Autism Adulthood: Creative Insights & Strategies for a Fulfilling Life

Gyasi Burks-Abbott, Stephanie Diorio, Erin Miller, Charlie Remy and Mitch Silverman
Librarians on the Spectrum: On Helping Make Libraries Inclusive

Morénike Giwa Onaiwu
At the Intersection of Being Black, Female and Autistic

Amanda Marti
Building Community Engagement

Samuel Senyo Dogoe
Autism & Libraries in Ghana

Kerry Magro
Journey to Adulthood on the Spectrum

Nancy Bolt
Advocating That All Be Served: the U.N., IFLA, A Survey and Library Service to People with Disabilities

Sujin Huggins
Autism & Libraries in Trinidad

Kathy Claybough, Cathy Hoffman, Holly Jin, Julie Ozier, and Deb Sherrick
Panel: Coll…