A library is inclusive of people with autism by opening early for an accessible browsing hour, allowing children with autism to use the library on Saturdays from 9-10 am, before opening to the general public. The hour also includes therapy dogs and a puppeteer.
The Iowa City Public Library is responding to the needs of children with autism, opening early on Saturday so that children on the autism spectrum do not have to cope with large nubers of people, and distractions.
“A lot of times he gets really upset, we usually have to leave without getting a movie or the book Jonah wanted,” said Jessie Witherell, mother of five year old Jonah and co-founder of the Iowa City Autism Community.
“We just want to make sure we’re inclusive to everyone and it’s a meaningful day for everyone,” said Angela Pilkington, children’s services coordinator at the library.
During Autism Accessible Browsing time, visitors can check out books and other items in a setting with dim lights, and watch a shadow pupped performance in the Children’s Room. There will also be two therapy dogs present.