Sensory Storytime for Autistic Children

At Youth Services, we are always looking for additional resources for youth and families that will benefit our own clients and we will periodically post them here on the blog.

puzzle: symbol for autismWe recently learned about a new resource for families with autistic children. The Salt Lake County Library is starting a Special Needs Sensory Storytime at the Kearns Library, 5350 South, 4220 West in Kearns. It will begin Saturday, March 26th at 10:30 am and will be held once a month. The program is specifically geared towards autistic children but any child is welcome. Attendance of a participating adult is required and attendance is limited.

Kearns Librarian Carrie Rogers-Whitehead explained why she decided to start the program:

salt lake county library logoDuring my regular storytimes a couple of autistic boys started coming.  I noticed they were having difficulties in the regular storytime acting out, running around and making lots of noise which was really  frustrating for the mother.

I realized that a different kind of storytime was needed for these children. With regular storytimes, there are less visuals and the books might not be appropriate for autistic children. Some picture books with idioms, figurative language, and phrases like “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” are confusing to an autistic child.

So, I decided to create a Sensory Storytime which will be highly visual and tactile –perfect for kids with sensory problems but also entertaining. Children with special needs spend time with speech pathologists and other teachers and this certainly does not replace what they do. I’m just trying to make an entertaining storytime that promotes literacy and communication skills, as well as giving parents a chance to meet others with similar children in the community.

Surprisingly, this is most likely the first and only Sensory Storytime to be held in the state of Utah. Carrie did get some ideas from a library system in North Carolina but didn’t find anything closer to home. There are of course other resources, such as recreational programs for autistic children. One resouce she recommended was the Utah Parent Center.

If you would like more information about this new program or to find out dates and times, contact Carrie Rogers-Whitehead at crwhitehead@slcolibrary.org or 801.944.7611.

What other local resources do you know of for autistic children and youth? Share them here!

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About Tammy Champo

Youth Services became my second home six years ago as I ventured into the social services world. As the Public Relations and Communications Coordinator, I manage the online and offline communications materials, organize special events and coordinate volunteers and donations. In my "free" time, I enjoy singing/songwriting, snowboarding and swimming.
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