How Do Libraries Help People with Special Needs?
Increasing accessibility allows all patrons to utilize library resources.
Accessibility is key in allowing people with disabilities to get the most out of library services.
Both school and public libraries are excellent resources for students that provide them with tons of materials needed for learning and leisure alike. But what about kids with special needs? For our disabled friends, libraries offer plenty of extra resources too! Here are four of our favorite ways libraries help kids with special needs:
Hosting Educational Resources and Seminars
Libraries are great places to host events, especially educational events for students. Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act’s Title II, all public spaces must be accessible for physically disabled people, making libraries an excellent choice for hosting events on a budget. Educational events that libraries provide also give kids with special needs the opportunity to socialize with people like them, allow parents a space for education, and encourage differently abled children to love learning outside of daily classes. Many libraries will host events targeted specifically for children with special needs, like computer programming classes, that would otherwise be difficult for these children to access.
Providing Accessible Book Events Targeted Specifically for Children with Special Needs
Books are the main resource libraries have, but what about books for people with visual impairments or dyslexia?
As a collection of books, libraries are encouraged to provide literary resources for people with physical disabilities that make it difficult for them to read a traditional book. Prints in braille and large fonts are available for people with visual impairments, and audiobooks are another excellent resource as well. For people with hearing loss, many libraries offer translation services for sign language and subtitles for video content.
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Providing Access to Computer Resources
In addition to accessible books, it’s also essential for libraries to include research resources for people who are visually impaired or hard of hearing too. Library computers all come equipped with screen readers, image enlarging software, and database navigation assistants to provide people with visual disabilities access to the same information as everyone else. For people with physical disabilities that have a hard time typing or using a mouse, libraries also offer special keyboards and navigation tools.
Creating Safe Spaces for Differently Abled Children
Most importantly, libraries offer a safe space for children with special needs. With accessible resources for research, reading, and watching videos, kids with all kinds of special needs can find what they’re looking for at the library without paying extra for accessibility. A library’s ability to offer people a peaceful, welcoming environment is crucial for kids who are more likely to face challenges in school.
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