Fact: Recent statistics from the Center for Disease Control show that a child's risk for being diagnosed with autism is 1 in 150.
We are often confronted by such sobering statistics without being given much advice about where to turn for more information, guidance and assurance. The growing number of children and families dealing with autism is less of a surprise to those who work in public libraries, as we meet and serve people with special needs on a daily basis. More challenging for libraries is how to best serve those with this disorder.
Veronica Schwartz, head of the Des Plaines Public Library's Youth Services department, heard the statistic quoted above and decided to take action. For her efforts, the library was awarded a grant by the Illinois State Library (ISL), a Division of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), under the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Funds from this grant will be used to provide library programming and services to benefit individuals with autism, their families and caregivers. DPPL staff will also benefit, by learning more about autism and how to effectively, compassionately provide service to people with autism.
The first program, a presentation on "The Many Faces of Autism," will take place at the Des Plaines Public Library on Monday, February 11, 2008 from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Linda Hoeck, Autism Coordinator for the Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization, will discuss the various aspects of the autism spectrum and address audience questions. The program is free but does require registration - just click here to fill out an online registration form. To register by phone, please call (847) 376-2787. The presentation and question-answer session will take place in the library's first floor Meeting Room A.
Watch our Web site, events calendar and PlainTalk for more programs and services designed to assist those with autism and the people who care for them. It is our hope that the "Special Families Need Special Libraries" grant we've received from the Illinois State Library will be just one part of an ongoing effort to meet the needs of people with autism. Mark your calendars now for a special evening with author Cynthia Lord, whose Newbery Honor winning children's book "Rules" deals frankly with autism and family life. Lord will visit the Des Plaines Public Library on Monday, April 21 at 7 p.m. She will speak of her own family's experiences with autism and how those experiences informed the writing of "Rules." She will also sign copies of her book.
Click here to see what books, audiobooks, DVDs and other materials are available at the Des Plaines Public Library on the subject of autism.