Today I am writing about autism. And while I cannot give the topic the treatment it deserves, a book caught my eye that provoked me to at least start a discussion here.
The book I am referring to is Library Services for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders by Lesley S. J. Farmer.
Seeing the title made me ask:
1. How are librarians extending resources and customer service to autistic patrons?
2. What external resources exist for children with autism?
3. What is the difference between autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders?
4. Can one be autistic and digitally literate?
So… some answers to those questions.
First, autism is defined as a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. (See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002494/)
Second, autism is a general term which is often used for Autistic Disorder (AD) that is included in the group of Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) therefore, actually refers to five pervasive developmental disorders: autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD) and pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified(PDD-NOS).
My research has led me to dozen of websites. (I am sure there are hundreds or thousands of them out there for you to peruse.) The sites run the gamut from basic information about autism to sites that allow teens and young adults to write about what it feels like to live with autism. There are also soft-sell to hard-sell advocacy groups defending those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. And yes, I found one that helps librarians serve patrons with autism (See http://librariesandautism.org/index.htm.) Finally, while the autistic discussion is still new to me, I believe one can be autistic and digitally literate thanks to such devices as the Nabi Tablet.
For now I leave you with:
http://autism.lovetoknow.com — This website has real-world tips for improving social skills, encouraging interaction and communication, and understanding a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
http://autism-hub.com — The Autism Hub is central point for blogs about autism from autistic people, family members, and students/professionals.
http://www.nabitablet.com/inspire — The Nabi Tablet is featured as a computer tablet for children with autism.
Do add what you know!