Library Awarded 2013 NACo Achievement Award

The National Association of Counties has awarded a 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award to the Chantilly branch of the Fairfax County Public Library for “Kaleidoscope Storytime: Adaptive Programming for Children on the Autism Spectrum,” a monthly storytime and other activities adapted to children on the autism spectrum and with other developmental challenges.

The project was spearheaded by staff member Gail Wellock and has since been adopted by other library branches. It evolved as staff at the branch noticed a growing number of children on the autism spectrum in the building and in programs. They also became aware that traditional storytimes did not always meet the needs of some young attendees with developmental challenges and that some parents were reluctant to bring their special needs children to storytimes.

To prepare for the program, staff partnered with Fairfax County Public Schools, attending a full day of training given by the Office of Special Education staff as well as meeting with the schools applied behavior coaches and observing special education classrooms. Wellock also met with the Parents of Autistic Children group to survey the members and ask for suggestions and comments.

According to Wellock, her goal in developing the special programming was to create a space “where all of us in the storytime will be accepting, tolerant and understanding of all behaviors except that which hurts others. A space where children will be honored.”

The first monthly Kaleidoscope Storytime launched in October 2012.  More than 30 people attended that inaugural event. The program was so successful that the branch launched a second “Peaceful Paws” program in January 2013, a read-to-the dog program designed for this special population.

Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. To request this information in an alternate format, call 703-324-8380, TTY 703-324-8365.

Fairfax County Public Library
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 324
Fairfax, Virginia 22035
Media Contact: Mary Mulrenan
703-324-8319, TTY 703-324-8365, Fax 703-324-3180
July 19, 2013, 03-14

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