Digital Sensory Storytime: Ohio Ready to Read & State Library of Ohio
One out of every 68 children has an autism spectrum disorder, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These are the children in our communities. Is your library a welcoming environment for children with autism and other sensory processing issues? Are parents and caregivers comfortable bringing their children with special needs to the library for storytime programs?
If you’re not sure, then seek out training, raise your awareness, and reach out to community members with or affected by special needs. The State Library of Ohio and Ohio Ready to Read have developed a resource guide on library services to young people with autism and to their families. The centerpiece of this resource guide is an original video tutorial by school librarian Amy Price on planning and presenting iPad®-enhanced storytimes, as one option to help libraries serve children with autism and other sensory processing issues.
The four-part tutorial, “Digital Sensory Storytime”, covers how to use digital books to effectively convey information to children with sensory processing issues; how to communicate easily with limited- or non-verbal children using picture schedules and social stories; and how to prepare a welcoming environment to reduce levels of typically-experienced anxiety, setting the stage for successful and enjoyable interactions.
The resource guide gathers a wealth of tools, supports, and information about library services to children with autism and their families, including educational materials on sensory storytimes and on inclusive practices for libraries.
Presenter Amy Price, librarian at Oakstone Academy in Westerville, Ohio, promotes the use of digital storybooks and the practice of inclusion to support children with autism and other sensory processing disorders, and to make the library an effective and welcoming place for children with autism and their families (with a reputation to match, as word-of-mouth is powerful in this community).
Oakstone Academy is a private school in central Ohio that uses an academic and social inclusion model to serve students with autism and their non-disabled peers. In 2010, Amy received a federal Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA grant, awarded by the State Library of Ohio. The grant allowed Oakstone Academy to incorporate iPads® into the classroom to enhance academic programming and support communication. The project demonstrated that children with sensory processing issues benefitted from the use of interactive digital books, and that the iPad® is an effective tool for lay people to communicate with individuals with autism.
View the Digital Sensory Storytime video tutorial and resource guide on the Ohio Ready to Read website.