Mesa Library To Debut Storytime Aimed At Children With Autism
Mesa’s Dobson Ranch Library is creating a brand new storytime for children with autism spectrum disorder. The library, which is now a certified autism center, will debut its new programming in the new year.
Anna Mathews is the branch coordinator there.
"And, it’s going to take account noise, and it’s going to be smaller in size, even the lighting would be dimmed, different things to take into account where it’s going to be a positive experience for the child — and it’s not overwhelming," she said.
Staff at Dobson Ranch Library recently completed training in what they call autism and sensory awareness. Now they’re trying to develop ways for families to feel more included in library activities like storytime.
Amy Otto is a librarian at Dobson Ranch. She says it’s important to illustrate, step by step, what’s coming next — even at storytime.
"So the kiddos can follow on visually, as well as check things off on a list, so, transition is hard, so they don’t get upset during transition. So we’re going from story to song to song to bubbles. They can follow along so they know what’s going to happen next so they can anticipate," she said.
Otto says they’re also creating calming kits with weighted blankets, fidget toys and noise canceling headphones.