The Saline District Library (MI) is building a collection of sensory integration equipment for check out by patrons called the All Abilities Collection. The purpose of the collection is to provide parents/teachers/caregivers of special needs children and teens a chance to try out some of the many tools available for sensory integration and social skill development. Since children of all abilities respond differently to toys and equipment, it is often a challenge for parents of children with disabilities to know if any particular item is one that will work for their specific child. The lending nature of the collection will allow patrons to try these items at home or school, allowing for a natural experience for the child and caregiver. It will also help the library serve their special needs community by showing that the library is welcome and open to all. The library will be collaborating with local educators and an occupational therapist to select items that will offer a full spectrum of interests and needs, as well as to create instructional guides that explain the operations of the items as well as the therapeutic value they can offer.
Wow! This grant is indeed AWESOME! We are putting together a collection of gadgets and equipment for parents/teachers/caregivers of special needs children and teens to try out some of the many tools available for sensory integration and social skill development. This collection will help patrons try these items at home or school allowing for a natural experience with the item. We will be providing an amazing, much needed, and helpful service to a patron base that is often under-served and who experience significant financial hardships.
Often libraries are not viewed as places that would be supportive of special needs populations. To combat this, we need to provide services that speak directly to the needs of the community and to do the outreach so the intended patrons know these services and collections exist. By providing items that encourage inclusion, we are able to expand the role the library can play in the lives of more and varied patrons.
– Katie Mitchell, Teen Librarian, Saline Public Library