Special Needs Collection Helps Develop Literacy and Skills
Laura Ortiz stops by the Brighton District Library regularly to check out vocabulary sight cards for her son who is hearing impaired. The cards are part of the Library’s new Special Needs Collection, which is available to be checked out or used at the Library by anyone in our community.
In Livingston County, approximately 4,000 children with physical or learning difficulties receive special services. Many parents, caregivers, and teachers of these children who struggle, often have a struggle of their own to find current and adequate resources.
These resources may include games and technology, specialized therapy or instructional books, DVDs and magazines.
“The value of having a collection of library materials for children with special needs is that these children and their parents are everywhere. This collection at the library creates a literacy that is accessible by all, thus creating daily breakthroughs and bonds for these special parents and their children,” said Laura Ortiz.
Carla Sharp, Head of Youth Services at the Brighton District Library said, “It is my dream that someday all children with different needs and disabilities will have access to programs, services, materials, and equipment equally and adequately.”
Sharp’s dream began to develop in 2012, as Youth Services staff attended workshops and organized a community focus group to provide the framework for developing a new collection at our Library. In 2013, the Friends of the Brighton District Library adopted the special needs project, and today, thanks to their generous support and commitment, the Library has a Special Needs Collection that is available to the community.
The collection includes print and audio-visual materials to aid the person with visual and hearing impairments, cognitive challenges, motor, speech or language delays, and emotional-behavioral issues. The therapeutic toy collection offers materials that can be used in the library or checked out and used at home, and the new adaptive technology purchases include four touch screen computer monitors that are wheelchair accessible.
The toy collection includes resources that encourage creativity, conversation and active play. Some build fine motor skills, while others offer tactile stimulation. These toys serve kids with special needs but are also “mainstream” toys which are ideal as learning aids, for example for adults recovering from stoke or other conditions.
For children with visual or speech impairments, the story bag collections are especially helpful. Each bag contains a picture book and an item mentioned in the story for kids to touch and feel while listening. Each piece or part helps give meaning to the words in the story, helping with comprehension and a better enjoyment of the book as a whole.
Audio and Braille books are available to adults and children who are unable to read standard printed materials as a result of blindness, visual disability, or physical limitations, through a partnership with the Braille and Talking Book Library.
For more information, please see the Special Needs Collection webpage
, stop in, or contact the Youth Department at 810-229-6571, ext 223.
[Note: as of posting time for this newsletter (Oct 30), technical issues with our website make this webpage unavailable. We expect it to be available again in a few days, and apologize for the inconvenience.]
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