Born to Stand Out
One of our favorite things at Arlington Public Library is storytime, but sometimes the traditional storytime setting is not the perfect fit for our families with special needs. The sounds may be too loud, the lights may be bright or it may be difficult to sit still for a series of stories and songs. Because we strive to make all of our families feel welcome, we are excited to introduce a new storytime at our Southwest Library!
Born to Stand Out is a “choose your own adventure” type of storytime for all ages and abilities. A storytime with songs, movement, activities and stories will be presented, including sensory friendly activities. Participants will have the freedom throughout the program to participate in storytime and explore the various sensory centers that focus on storytelling, play and more. In addition, we hope that this will be a good opportunity to learn from our special need community, as well as provide a fun and comfortable environment for parents of children with special needs to get together and share their experiences.
The idea for a storytime specifically for children with special needs came to our staff member, Ashley, a couple of years ago. It was her first week doing storytime, and a little girl was running around and talking during storytime. It didn’t bother her but the other parents at that particular storytime made the mother of the little girl feel bad about it.
Ashley spoke to the mother, “I told her that it was my first week and that I was happy to have them at storytime! She asked me if there was a storytime for children with special needs, and then told me that her little girl was autistic. I encouraged her to come back, but never saw her again. It was heartbreaking. I hope that by starting a special needs storytime, it gives everyone a chance to feel comfortable and enjoy storyime in their own way.”