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SWON News: SWON Weekly

Starting Sensory Story Times

Thursday, August 28, 2014  
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At yesterday’s Picture Book Read-In, Tricia Twarogowski shared some of her experiences in setting up Sensory Story Times for kids who have special needs. These programs are designed for children on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing disorder, though they’re also appropriate (and welcoming) to all kids.

In Sensory Story Times, they’re careful to include and exclude sensory stimuli to help kids participate. So they include singing songs, but they exclude sharp, loud sounds like hand claps. They do knee claps instead. They try to use natural light instead of overhead lighting when possible, since fluorescent lights flicker and buzz. The program leaders don’t wear perfume or use scented products, which some kids are sensitive to.

Details like these, along with lots of other information, are available at the Libraries and Autism website. There are videos to watch, articles to read, and resources to download. It’s a great website, whether you’re just starting your research or are looking for books to use in programs you’re running.

Creating a welcoming environment for children with special needs extends beyond the program and the room where it happens. It’s in the way the kids and their parents are treated the whole time they’re in the library. So Tricia helps library staff get ready for Sensory Story Times by coaching them about how to help a young person who doesn’t make eye contact or behaves in unexpected ways.

Tricia is currently the Branch Manager at the Northwest Akron Branch of Akron-Summit County Public Library. You can watch a video about the Sensory Story Time they host and even email her with questions, at Her talk yesterday was a great contribution to a fun day with picture books. Thanks Tricia!

  • Nathan Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator

Kids Programming at the Summer Reading Workshop

Looking for new kids programming ideas? SWON’s Summer Reading Workshop on September 22nd has a full day of it. Although there’s plenty of Summer Reading discussion, most of the day will be spent talking about programs you can use whenever you wish. Space is limited, so register today!

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