We believe that libraries are for everyone in our community to enjoy. At Public Libraries Victoria, we are working on initiatives that help to make libraries feel like a safe, wonderful place for the people in our community who need extra support.
Storytime can be a magic time for children. As the stories unfold and draw them in, children ignite their imagination, encouraging them to develop a love of books and reading. Storytime is a fun and interactive way to build strong foundations for literacy.
For children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Storytime can be challenging. Large groups of people, loud noises and variation to routine can cause anxiety. That’s why libraries have developed Inclusive Storytime.
This innovative program has been tailor-made to meet the unique needs of children with ASD. It provides a regular, controlled environment that helps autistic children feel safe and settled. The sessions also incorporate special features like sensory materials and picture exchange communication system cards (PECS).
As well as helping to develop early literacy and school readiness skills, Inclusive Storytime provides important opportunities for the children to interact socially and enables parents and carers on similar journeys to connect. These sessions also establish libraries as a “safe place” and can help to strengthen community awareness around autism.
Everyone loves Santa. But for children with ASD, visiting Santa at a shopping center can often be an overwhelming or distressing experience. That’s why we create opportunities for families to get a photo with Santa in a sensory-friendly environment.