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									Programming for Children with Special
      Needs and Their Families

         Tricia Bohanon Twarogowski
         Children’s Services Manager
           Matthews Branch Library
   Expressed need of parents

   First program scheduled August 2008
    at Matthews Branch Library
    (questionnaire provided)

   Proposal for South Region of PLCMC
    related to special needs programming
    commissioned in August 2008
Feedback—First Storytime
   This is a great idea! Kids       Keep things moving. Need
    can roam free and make            it louder. More action.
    noise without parents
    worrying they are bothering

                                     My child would benefit from
                                      having the
                                      books/presenters sit in the
                                      middle of the group. The
   We hope you have more!            closer the material, the
    Thanks!                           more likely he is to pay
  Focus Group—September 27, 2008
10 questions including:

“What would an effective program look like?”
“What tips can you give for interacting well
  with your child?”
“What resources would you recommend that
  the Library have that we currently do not?”
 Charlotte-Area School Visits

                                                Garr Christian School
      Fletcher School
                                                     Autism Track
Learning Disabilities (ADHD)

                          Metro School—CMS
          Multiple disabilities (severely cognitively disabled)
    Autism Society Partnership

   Attended meeting
    September 2008
    (brainstorming session)
   Attended meeting February
    2009 (summer fair)
   Meetings with Parent
    Advocate and President of
   Partnership between the
    Autism Society and PLCMC
    to raise Autism awareness of
    all library staff members
     Allegro Foundation Partnership

   Class observed at CMC in
    February 2009
   Meeting with Foundation
    members in February 2009
   Classes observed at Metro
    School in April 2009  
   First sample class offered at
    Matthews Branch Library April
     Rhythm and Rhyme Storytime
   Serving children with autism primarily as well
    as Down syndrome and other developmental
   Saturday mornings work best due to other
   No age limitation for participants
   Use of visual schedule during program
   Presenters possess flexibility throughout
   Social time following program for both children
    and their families
   Difficulty in expressing needs; using gestures or
    pointing instead of words
   Laughing (and/or crying) for no apparent reason;
    showing distress for reasons not apparent to
   Difficulty in mixing with others
   Little or no eye contact
   Unresponsive to normal teaching methods
   Obsessive attachment to objects
   Non-responsive to verbal cues

Source: Autism Society of America
    Storytime Announcements
   Thank you for supporting our efforts
    to provide specialized programming—
    all feedback is welcome
   Purpose-not to exclude but to
    welcome without judgment
   Understanding that children are at
    different levels—feel free to come and
    go as necessary during program
   Presentation of visual schedule for the
    Storytime Setting
   Less-bright lighting
   Seating spot (rug or
    carpet square)
   No food or perfume
   Stuffed animals or
     Storytime Components
   Visual schedule
   Books with patterns,
    repeating lines or easily
    reproduced visual options
   Double visuals
    (book/puppet or
   Music low-key/acoustic
Use of Schedule Board
Use of Hands On Activity
Use of Double Visuals
Use of Music Activities
Use of Repetition
Testimonials from Participants
“It’s nice to be in an open and understanding
   environment. It’s just nice to be relaxed.”—
   Jennifer Lang, Mother of Courtney, a 4-year old
   child with sensory integration dysfunction and

“It’s an hour of therapy being able to interact with
   Michael and see other children who have special
   needs like him. It’s been nice to meet other
   parents who understand what it’s like.”—Michael
   McManus, Sr., Father of Michael Jr., a 2-year old
   child with autism
Video for Staff Training at PLCMC

  Emily Nanney,       Tricia Twarogowski,
Children’s Services   Children’s Services
 Manager, South       Manager, Matthews
 County Regional         Branch Library
   Strengthening partnerships with Autism Society of NC,
    Down Syndrome Association and Allegro Foundation
   Modifying current programs through experience and
    feedback for improvement
   Extending programs throughout PLCMC branches
   Creating storytime to go kits with ready-made
    programs, including all materials necessary to provide
   Duplicating programs at different times--same day,
    same location
   Use of adaptable books in programming
   Paper: “Proposal for Developing Programs in the South
    Area for Children with Special Needs and their Families.”
    Twarogowski, Trish and Nanney, Emily. January 2009.

  Website: Allegro Foundation

  Website: Autism Society of America

   Presenter email: Tricia Twarogowski

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