Children with Autism spectrum disorder will enjoy story time sessions in Queensland public libraries thanks to a state first initiative.
Brought together by Autism CRC, Griffith University, Studio G (Autism Queensland) and the Brisbane City Council, the initiative will aim to promote early language and literacy skills in young children with autism while helping foster a love for reading.
Dr Marleen Westerveld, Autism CRC Project Leader and Senior Lecturer at Griffith University says the adapted story time sessions remove the barriers often faced by children with autism in public spaces.
“The ability for children on the autism spectrum to attend their local library and participate in story time activities can be affected by factors, such as the story time space and session structure,” she says.
To develop the initiative, Autism CRC and Griffith University surveyed parents of young children with autism to identify the barriers that impact their child’s participation in story time sessions.
“The story time initiative is one of 55 projects being delivered by Autism CRC in collaboration with its participants and partners to help improve the lives of people on the spectrum,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Autism CRC, Andrew Davis says.
The Brisbane City Council’s First 5 Forever Team, dedicated to improving the lives of children in their important first five years of life, is now working on increasing their understanding of autism and how this affects child participation in educational and recreational activities.
Nicole Rogerson, CEO of Autism Awareness Australia commends the initiative, but also says it is important to include children with autism in typical events and activities.
“True inclusive societies should welcome and plan for all children regardless of their learning styles. However, the key element here is to teach children with autism to be able to cope in many and varied surroundings, giving them the skills to have as independent life as possible.”
“We don't want our children relegated to the 'special' zone, we want them here in our communities, with us and their friends,” she says.
You can watch a video on the initiative here.
For more information on disability support and services, please visit DisabilitySupportGuide.com.au.