Storytimes are designed to encourage a love of reading, develop social interactions and stimulate imagination. Attending Storytimes allows children and their carers to experience stories and songs in a fun and interactive way while building the foundation for literacy.
Every childhood program that our libraries offer are based on developing early literacy and school readiness skills. Every activity/craft we include is based on developing various gross-motor and fine-motor skills to help children develop the neural pathways in their brains.
However, children presenting with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have different learning needs or experience anxiety at traditional Storytimes, not coping with the environment, with behaviour that is often a symptom of them not managing with various aspects such as the noise or the variation in routine.
Accordingly, libraries have looked for an alternative – Inclusive Storytimes.
Inclusive Storytimes run very similarly to traditional Storytimes but include sensory materials and picture exchange communication system cards (PECS).
These sensory-friendly Storytimes provide a controlled environment for autistic children and their families to participate and enjoy the session as much as a neurotypical child can enjoy a regular Storytime. They ensure social interaction for children and families, and provide a much needed networking opportunity for parents and carers experiencing similar journeys. These sessions allow libraries to become a “safe place” and can form an essential part of strengthening community awareness around autism.
Links to Resources