Happy New Year! Here is the third installment of ideas for incorporating health programming into your overall library programming strategy. Keep looking for us on the first of each month to find programming ideas for three months out.
April is National Autism Awareness Month. A growing concern, autism now affects one in every 110 American children. In the 1970s, the Autism Society named April National Autism Awareness Month, and in 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD).
Bring Autism Awareness to your library community this April with these free and easy resources:
- Quick and Easy: printables and programming ideas
- Featured Resources: autism books, movies, and websites
- Book Club: book and movie discussion group ideas and resources
- Tie Ins: to traditional library programming
- Community Resources: local autism resources
- Publicity Resources: press releases, widgets, and more
- Fun Stuff: fun, interactive autism links
Printable Crafts, Bookmarks, Coloring Pages, and Activities for Children:
- Autism Awareness Ribbon Symbol to cut out and fold
- Autism Awareness Bookmarks and Pencil Toppers
- Autism Awareness Door Hangers
- Autism Awareness Pinwheel to make
- “I Love Someone with Autism” Paper Dog craft
- “I Love Someone With Autism” Paper Car craft
- Autism Awareness Symbol Coloring Page
- Autism Awareness Word Search
- Autism Awareness Crossword Puzzle
Autism Books, Ready Reference Web Sites, and Interactive Websites:
Books and Movies
Resources Explaining Autism
- Kids Health: a website that explains autism in simple language for kids.
- Growing Up Together: a printable 4 page brochure, explains autism and how to be friends with autistic peers
- Growing Up Together: Teens with Autism: a printable 4 page brochure for Teens
- First 100 Days Kit: a tool kit to assist families in getting the critical information they need in the first 100 days after an autism diagnosis from Autism Speaks.
Websites for Children with Autism
- Zac Browser: a free Internet browser developed specifically for children living with variants of autism spectrum disorder.
- Whiz Kid Games: free online games for children with autism from autismgames.co.uk
Organizations to Contact
- Autism Society of America
- Autism Speaks
- Generation Rescue
- National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
- Organization for Autism Research
- World Autism Awareness Day
Resources for Libraries and Librarians
- “Programming for Children with Special Needs” by Tricia Bohanon Twarogowski via the Association for Library Service to Children (ASLC)
- Libraries and Autism. We’re Connected. A comprehensive website including bibliographies, links, and a free customer service training video for library workers from The Library of Fanwood and Scotch Plains, New Jersey.
- Printable Suggested Reading List from World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD)
- Zac Browser: A free Internet browser developed specifically for children living with variants of autism spectrum disorder.
Observe National Autism Month this April by choosing one of these autism related books or movies for your teen or adult discussion group:
- Rain Man: A Novel (A Level 3 Penguin Reader – targeted toward Adult and Young Adult ESL learners) by Kieran McGovern and Leonore Fleischer. Teacher’s Notes and Discussion Questions and Activities from Penguin Publishing. Activity Worksheets from Penguin Publishing. Movie on DVD
- The Horse Boy: A Father’s Quest to Heal His Son by Rupert Isaacson. Reading Group Guide from Hachette Book Group. Movie on DVD. Movie Discussion Guide from Independent Lens.
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Reading Group Discussion Guide from readinggroupguides.com. Readers Guide from Random House.
- Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant: a Memoir by Daniel Tannett. Reading Group Discussion Guide from Simon & Schuster.
- April is National Poetry Month! You can bring Autism Awareness and National Poetry Month together with these two resources:
- First, bring autism awareness to your library with these hands on Autism Awareness Activities from the Anne Arundel County (Maryland) Chapter of the Autism Society. These activities focus on the senses and how autistic people are affected by sensory overload.
- Next, continue the focus on the five senses by following this Five Senses Approach to Writing Poetry lesson plan. Participants can write about the library, use their imaginations to write about their favorite places, or imagine what it might be like to suffer with autism.
- Because autism itself is such a puzzle, puzzle pieces are used to symbolize autism. Focus on autism during your April Craft Time with any of these easy crafts featuring puzzle pieces:
- Give the kids something to do during Spring Break, and raise awareness and funds for autism at the same time by participating in Bounce for Autism.
- At the Autism Speaks website, search by state or zip code for autism resources and presenters near you.
- At the Autism Society of America website, click on a state to find state resources.
- At the Autism Society of America website, click on a state to find local chapters.
- Use the Autism Source, on an online resource database, to find local resources for families with autistic members — everything from dentists to educational support.
- April is Autism Awareness Month logo and more
- Libraries and Autism. We’re Connected logo
- Autism Awareness Ribbon logo
- World Autism Awareness Day logo
Free Publicity Materials
- World Autism Awareness Day Press Toolkit, including sample press releases.
- April is Autism Awareness Month Poster from 1Power4Autism
Stress relieving resources:
- Autism? There’s an app. for that.
- Expressive – an app for iPad and iPhone
- Autism Comics – because laughter is the best medicine.
- Games for Autistic Kids
- Sensory Friendly Movies at AMC Theaters
Do you have additional autism awareness programming ideas that you want to share? Feel free to leave a comment.