In June 2018, Šiauliai county Povilas Višinskis public library was the first library in Lithuania to declare itself as autism friendly.
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often have difficulty accessing, processing, preserving, and reproducing information from the environment. Such children also often have language and communication problems, making it difficult for them to enjoy books.
Parents raising children with ASD are not always welcome with their children in public places, not only because of the stress kids are experiencing but also because of the negative reactions of people around them towards their children behavior. Educational activities of the library encourage the involvement of such families, familiarize society with ASD and develop public tolerance.
- Specially adapted space, equipped with sensory elements;
- Social story;
- Trained staff;
- Educational programme;
- Tolerance of noise and understanding from the public.
Currently, 9 different sensory stories are being read. During sensory readings, children are taught how to feel, engage in a reading process while performing various tasks, playing games. This way kids enrich their vocabulary, encourage creativity, learn to wait for their turn and work together with others.
In 2018 we had 41 event (275 participants), in 2019 – already 23 events (245 participants).
“It is difficult to express gratitude to your entire team in words. We, moms of children with autism, talk in a closed FB group where we give each other advices, share joy and pain. After the sensory readings, we shared our impressions:
- We loved it! Going to visit the library again.
- My kid really liked the reading and also asked when we are coming back for more. So we need to form a group and go there again.
- At the very end my girl even hugged others!
- Your sensory readings get +10 from me! All children and parents are 100% satisfied. Do not stop what you are doing. WE NEED YOU!“
Photographer I. Slonksnytė