Library Services for Students with Autism (Librarians can build this…
Library Services for Students with Autism
School libraries should be a safe and welcoming space for students with autism.
Many public spaces are not designed to meet the needs of people with autism, but libraries are an exception (Lawrence, 2013, p. 99)
Most social spaces on school campuses are too overwhelming for students with autism (Madriaga, 2010, p. 25)
Many students view the library as a safe space on campus. (Sarrett, 2017, p. 690)
Librarians can build this welcoming space by collaborating with others: special education teachers, parents, other librarians, and adults with autism.
Special education teachers and adults with autism should be included in library staff development (Remy & Seaman, 2014, p. 27)
Adults with autism have a unique perspective on the challenges and benefits of living with autism (Eng, 2017, para. 23)
Books and resources written by people with autism tend to be more positive (Wiley-Mydske, 2018, para. 3)
Parents and caregivers can collaborate with library staff (Grassi, 2018, p. 366)
These collaborations can lead to adjusted instruction, programming, and physical environments that are more suitable for students with autism.
School librarians can be leaders in Assistive Technology use on campus (Ennis-Cole & Smith, 2011, p. 96)
Librarians can offer supports and accommodations to better serve their students with autism (Grassi, 2018, p. 364)
Librarians want more training on supporting the communication skills of students with autism (Anderson & Everhart, 2015, p. 24)
Accommodations for students with autism can benefit other students too (Sarrett, 2017, p. 691)
It is also important to include the voices of students with autism in the process of developing autism-friendly school libraries.
Serving students with special needs is the lowest-rated knowledge area reported by librarians (Hill, 2012, p. 3)
Librarians need to ask their students for input (Pionke, 2017, p. 48)
Some students may not know what the library can offer (Pionke, 2017, p. 50)
Library schools have not fully prepared librarians for working with students with disabilities (Grassi, 2018, p. 366)
More research must be done on this topic, with larger and more diverse sample sizes. The input of autistic librarians must also be included.