Midleton Library launches Autism Friendly Hour

By Seamus Whelehan


Midleton Library is offering a special programme for children with autism and their guardians, every Wednesday at 9:30am they can enjoy Library time for one hour. The sensory friendly hour runs throughout the summer from 9:30am to 10:30am, where staff create an environment that is accommodating to the needs of autistic children.
The kid’s library will be softly lit and no noise activities will be scheduled, to help create a calm setting. Head Librarian Anne-Marie Kenneally said the scheme is part of an initiative to encourage those with an autism diagnosis to start using the service. “People think the Library is not a place for those with autism, as they can often be disruptive. We just want to put it out there that it is somewhere that is accessible and, because it’s normally quiet, it doesn’t mean they are not welcome to come.”
Autism is a neurological disorder that affects the way in which a person communicates and relates to people and the world around them. It can affect a person’s behaviour, social interaction and verbal communication. Autism is a spectrum disorder meaning that individuals can often experience these life challenges differently.
The service is offering an extensive collection of sensory friendly books covering every reading stage, from beginner to teenage years. The Barrington Stoke books have a sensory friendly font on cream paper to reduce glare, and language-edited to increase readability. There are fiction and non-fiction collections adapted to different reading ages for children and teens on the Autistic spectrum and dyslexic. There is also a selection of sensory books and toys available separately.
Any groups of adults or children who would like to arrange an introductory Library visit are encouraged to contact the Library with their requests.