Westerville Library serves autistic population

March 29, 2018 by  

The Westerville Public Library has joined the Old Worthington Library in starting special programs for those who are on the autism spectrum. Worthington has devised “browsing hours,” while Westerville has focused on specially-designed events.

At Westerville, events aimed at adults and children on the spectrum include a program that puts music together with stories in “Tunes and Tales”; a “sensory storytime” designed to engage and entertain autistic persons; and an “accessible book club” for patrons who have developmental disabilities.

Westerville Library’s Michala Sage says it is important to tailor events and presentations specifically for autistic patrons. Children on the spectrum often find it difficult to sit in one place, are uneasy in crowds, and have problems tolerating bright light. The humming of fluorescent lights can also cause distress.

Parents of autistic children sometimes feel they cannot bring them to the library because they fear the environment, and the type of programs traditionally presented will cause the children to be disruptive. Tailoring the programs will help the children feel welcome, and reduce triggers for behavioral problems.

The next special events at the Westerville library, which is on State Street, are sensory-friendly storytimes on April 20 from 9:30 am until 10:00 am, and meetings of the accessible book club on April 9 and May 14 starting at 10:00 am.

Measure like this are important to many, so librarians might work with a flyer printing company on an informative mailer for the community.