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11 Awesome Special Needs Services & Programs Available Through Your Library

Special Needs and the Library

A disability should not prevent anyone from using the services of the library. The challenges posed by physical or mental impairments can be daunting for both children and adults, but the services and programs offered by or accessed through the library can benefit and even enrich the lives of individuals who have special needs.

For instance, all children, including those on the autism spectrum, can use the library as an opportunity to develop public behavior skills, such as using a quiet tone of voice, staying out of restricted areas (such as offices), and refraining from running. For those with trouble speaking, asking for materials (or directions to specific areas of the library) is a way to put into practice pre-rehearsed scripts. Also, for those new to the library universe, learning and deciphering the Dewey Decimal system can give anyone a feeling of accomplishment!

The Library offers programs that are inclusive and can integrate children of varying abilities into the wider community. The upcoming program given by certified special education teacher Lisa Joy Walters, “A Circle of Friends”, is specifically designed for children with developmental delays, those along the autism spectrum and other special needs (Monday, July 11 and Wednesday, August 3). We also have our frequent Caregiver and Me sign language program presented by Lisamarie Curley that teaches children how to express themselves before they have verbal mastery (this summer’s theme is “Sports”), but these skills can be used for hearing-impaired children and their caregivers, too.

The Summer Reading Club is another opportunity for children with different ability levels to practice reading and speaking or writing about their books. Reading is important for every individual and should be expected of all children. We have a variety of wordless picture books and audiobooks, both fiction and non-fiction to support each person’s unique interest and capabilities, as well. Materials can be interloaned if we do not have them, and referrals provided for additional resources available to children and families. The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library in New York City is Long Island’s resource for the National Library Service which provides free materials by free delivery to visually and/or physically handicapped people. Applications for this service are available at all Suffolk County libraries including the Islip Public Library. You can also call the Suffolk Cooperative Library System and ask for the Talking Books Department at 631-286-1600 to learn more about this free service.

In addition to visiting the Library this summer, the following are resources for recreational activities geared toward children with special needs:

Adler Center for Special Needs- offers Zumba-Yoga and fitness classes along with summer camp options for kids of all ages. http://www.miyjcc.org

Pump It Up in Plainview offers monthly sensory playtime for kids on the spectrum. Call (516) 575-2300 or go to their website calendar for the next date it’s given. (https://www.pumpitupparty.com/plainview-ny/)

Safari Adventure in Riverhead offers a “Sensitive Safari” at 9:00 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month. Call (631) 727-4386 for more information. www.thesafariadventure.com

K.I.D.S. Plus in Babylon offers a variety of sports programs, including martial arts. http://kidsplusinc.com/programs.

The Miracle League of Long Island (http://old.mllongisland.com) and League of YES in Babylon (www.leagueof yes.com) both offer baseball programs.

Pal-O-Mine Equestrian in Islandia (www.Pal-O-Mine.org) and Horseability at SUNY Old Westbury (www.horseability.org) offer therapeutic horseback riding.

Camp Kehilla (www.campkehilla.org) in Wheatley Heights and Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck (camppaquatuck.com) in Center Moriches have special needs programs for children with Asperger’s and ADHD as well as physical disabilities.

Michele Ferrari

Michele Ferrari

International woman of mystery Michele Ferrari is a voracious reader of just about everything. Striving desperately not to become her neighborhood’s “Crazy Cat Lady” (it may already be too late!), she has been a resident of Islip for over 25 years, with a lot of Buccaneer’s paraphernalia to prove it. She enjoys laughing at absurdities and introducing the right reader to the perfect book. Click here to subscribe to Michele Ferrari's blog posts!

Michelle Turner - June 29, 2016

Thank you Ms. Ferrari for making us aware of all the resources available for people with special needs. Most of all, I am grateful for all of your help when I have come into the library choosing books, puzzles and other materials to supplement my child’s education.

Seth Chandler - July 3, 2016

Missing from this list is a great resource to Families with Teens and Young Adults, just steps from the Islip Public Library. Mile Zero Consultation is an amazing asset to the special needs community here, as well as Teens and Young Adults who struggle with making and keeping friends. Social skills and many other family support programs are facilitated and designed by Tracy, A long time resident of Islip. She is a certified special education teacher with experience and specialized training in helping Individuals with ADHD, anxiety, and on the autism spectrum to achieve the skills needed to be confident and social members of the community. You should really check them out. She would be more than happy to work with the library!


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