ALA Unit/Subunit: ACRL
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.
Young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are attending postsecondary institutions more than ever before, and it is highly likely that most academic librarians are already working with this population – whether they realize it or not.
At Florida State University, a team of researchers are working with academic librarians to provide intensive coaching to better support students on the spectrum in the campus libraries. In this session, both researchers and librarians will share key project takeaways and actively engage participants in discussion about best practices for working with this population.
In this highly interactive panel, presenters will share key takeaways from an IMLS funded study, Project A+, that provides evidence based strategies for academic librarians in working with students on the autism spectrum. The session will incorporate two themes: research and practical application.
First, presenters will briefly discuss the basis for their suggestions, describing the research approach used through collaboration with multiple sets of academic librarian teams, college students with ASD, and an advisory board consisting of experts in librarianship, autism research, and librarians with autism themselves.
Next, academic librarians involved in the project will describe their experience in tailoring services based on knowledge gained about the autism campus community. Attendees will hear from librarians in various roles, including undergraduate services and subject specialist librarians.
The study itself is currently being developed into a freely accessibly training manual for all librarians to gain insight into serving members of this population. Practical methods as currently being incorporated into the Project A+ training manual will be discussed in detail, allowing for conversation between participants and panelists for specific tailored approaches according to librarians’ needs. Discussion will include supplementing and modifying library services, arranging the library’s physical environment, employment opportunities and strategies for reducing library anxiety.
Session attendees will be given worksheets and handouts to evaluate their own libraries and library services upon the presentation’s conclusion.