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Teen Issues: Teens and Autism and Future Horizons

As many of know, I am the aunt to 3 boys on the autism spectrum, one of whom is now officially a teenager.  His life is very different from the teens we usually see in our libraries.  He won’t be coming to any library programs or telling you what he thinks about the books he reads. He communicates through a Dynavox. He bites himself when he becomes frustrated about his inability to communicate or if he become overstimulated. He likes to go for rides in the car and play on the computer. And like most young teens, he likes to ride his bike.

I don’t know what the future holds for my nephews, but I know that current statistics indicate that 1 out of 110 kids are being diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. If you look at just boys, 1 out of 60 boys is on the spectrum. The library world, like the rest of the world, has started to take note of these statistics and really started to examine what they can do in their communities to reach out to teens on the spectrum, and their families.  One of the ways we can reach out, of course, is by providing quality information. Meet Future Horizons.

http://www.fhautism.com/ You can request a free catalog

While at ALA Midwinter in Dallas, one of the publisher booths I stumbled upon was for Future Horizons.  Future Horizons is the “world leader in publications and conferences on autism and Asperger’s Syndrome since 1996″ (catalog cover).  They offer a wide variety of materials on autism and Asperger’s, including materials on reading comprehension, social skills training, and help understanding the basics of spectrum disorders. They have a wide variety of people writing for them, from people on the spectrum themselves to educators and doctors who specialize in working with ASD individuals.

The President of Future Horizons is Mr. R. Wayne Gilpin and he is also the father of a young man on the spectrum named Alex.  The Future Horizons objective is to “focus on the positive and the progress these special people can make.” The emphasis in their materials is not on finding a “cure” (if there is one to be found), but upon helping us all see and empower these individuals in positive ways.

Some of the titles you may want to consider adding to your collection include:

Apps for Autism: An Essential Guide to Over 200 Effective Apps for Improving Communication, Behavior, Social Skills, and More! by Lois Jean Brady, M. A., CCC-SLP

Many people are finding that there are a wide variety of apps that can help individuals on the spectrum develop important skills and better communicate. This title helps to highlight some of those apps and cut down on the trail and error (and financial burden) of trying to find those apps.

Asperger’s and Girls by Temple Grandin

The Way I See It by Temple Grandin

Dr. Temple Grandin is a recognized authority on life on the spectrum because she herself is indeed on the spectrum. She is also one of the world’s leading experts in livestock facility design.

They also have titles on inclusive programming for Middle School and High School students with Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome.

The catalog is divided into categories to help make collection development easy. The categories include diagnosis, sensory issues, family issues, behavior, social skills, education, and growing up for example.  They also offer book bundles like the Asperger’s Syndrome Package or the Dr. Temple Grandin Library. These packages include a variety of titles on the topic at a reduced price.

If you know anything about Autism and Asperger’s, then you are familiar with the name Dr. Temple Grandin and I think it speaks volumes to the quality and integrity of this publishing house that this is who she chooses to write and publish with.

If you are not actively doing so, I hope that you will spend some time getting to understand Autism and Asperger’s and seek out ways that you can reach out to those on the spectrum in your community. You can visit the Future Horizons website at http://www.fhautism.com/ to find out more about the resources and conferences that they offer.  Please visit the Autism and Libraries page to learn more about the initiative to better serve the autism community in our libraries.

I have contacted Future Horizons and they were kind enough to set up an interview for me with J. D. Kraus, which will be coming soon. J. D. Kraus is the author of The Aspie Teen’s Survival Guide.  Kraus is a young man on the spectrum and he will be sharing with us some insight into living a life with Asperger’s and some of the things libraries should know to better help understand and meet the needs of teens on the spectrum.

Please visit my previous posts about autism for more information on libraries and autism:
Teen Issues: Autism and Libraries
Guest Blog Post: On the Spectrum and @ Your Library

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