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Rebecca Heard

LIS 723
Inquiry Based Research Project
Dec. 17, 2015

Sensory Story Time Program Plan

Statement of Problem/Need:
Children with autism, sensory processing disorders, developmental disabilities, or other
special needs are often a neglected segment of our story times and programming. They
need programming inclusive of them in a comfortable, sensory-sensitive environment.

Project Deliverables and Patron Benefit:

This interactive and educational program is specifically designed for children with
special needs and their families. It will allow children and parents an opportunity to
experience story time in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. Many parents choose not
to participate or attend library programs at all because of apprehension of their child
being disruptive or being the source of ridicule etc. We want to create and foster an
environment that parents of special needs children ages 4 - 8 yrs. can feel welcome and
safe to explore while in story time.
This program offers educational, literacy and social opportunities for children of all ages
with differing abilities, their siblings, parents or caregivers and their peers. At the end of
each sensory story time the child will leave with a take-a-way craft or activity related to
the days theme. Children will leave with a sense of self-confidence and inclusion.

Project Evaluation/Measurement of Success:

Because of the intangibles of providing service to the special needs population an
accurate measurement of success is a little difficult to access. However, in attempts to
do so:
1. A registration form and attendance sheet will be kept to gauge the number of
participants and families attending.
2. At the end of each program children will have participated or been offered the
opportunity to participate in at least one of the interactive aspects of the sensory story

time i.e. flannel board/story retelling, exploration of the sensory table, parachute play
3. At the completion of the each program parents will receive a brief survey polling their
impressions of the program and a suggestions/comments area for feedback.

Project Scope:
The program will be a one (1) hour program to be held once a month. It will be
conducted for three (3) months. It will include:
a safe and non-judgmental environment
a schedule board for following along
flannel board stories
gentle music
a half-hour of playtime and socialization for the entire family

Participants will be required to register for participation.

Participants are also asked but not required to list the childs disability in order to
make staff aware of any physical limitations.
The program will be limited to ten (10) children maximum.
On the day of the program, families/caregivers will be asked to arrive at least ten
minutes before start time to allow for any special accommodations i.e.
wheelchair, walker, service animal, and etc.
If successful, the program may be extended to another three month stint.
At the end of each sensory story time the child will leave with a take-a-way craft
or activity related to the days theme.

Project Start DateCompletion Date:

The project will begin on January 4, 2016 with a written proposal to Childrens Services
Department Director and to the library Branch Manager.
The program will be held from March, 2016 to May, 2016.
The program will consist of three (3) total sessions. The dates are:
March 12, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 12 noon
April 9, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 12 noon
May 14, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 12 noon
The project will end prior to the start of the annual Summer Learning Challenge (SLC).

Project Timeline/Schedule:
January 4, 2016

Submit proposal to Childrens Services Department Director and to

the library Branch Manager.

Jan. - Feb. 2016

Attend Cohorts Sensory Story Time Sessions at the Thomas

Hughes Childrens Library in the Harold Washington Library Center.

February 1, 2016

At monthly Branch Staff Meeting, make staff aware of the new

outreach effort and the inclusion of special needs children and their
families in the branch. Offer training on best practices and customer
service to patrons with disabilities.

February 3, 2016

Speak to the Marketing department to create promotional flyers and

postcards promoting the scheduled events.
Prepare, post, and distribute flyers in the branch,
local park districts, and neighboring schools promoting the
upcoming program.

February 8, 2016

Begin marketing program to nearby schools, parks, community

centers, religious organizations, and in-house library patrons.

February 12, 2016 Prepare program plans and parent survey. Create lists of required
materials and resources for crafts, activities, sensory table or
bottles and etc. Order supplies and/or purchase smaller materials
for activities.
Feb. 29 - March 4

Prepare auditorium for scheduled events. Remove excessive

posters and artwork from walls. Have custodian clean and/or
vacuum the carpets due to possible allergies to dust.

March 7, 2016

In Branch Staff Meeting remind staff of upcoming program and

answer any questions they may have.
Call pre-registered families to remind them of the event.
(Call every Monday before the scheduled event.)
Pull books for program. Arrange story time plans.

March 12, 2016

Day of Program: set up auditorium, again removing any distracting

art or posters from walls, arrange rug on the floor and chairs nearby
If needed, set up sensory table in rear of the room, flannel board,
visual schedule, place books any additional story materials in
simple basket near presenter.

Ten to Fifteen minutes before program start welcome any early

parents/caregivers and families. Ask about potential allergies or
about any needed accommodations for their child.
Welcome parents and families, show them where the bathroom is
located. Give the Verbal Explanation for their comfort if they need
to leave or take a break. Begin Sensory Story Time program.
After the program: Thank each family for attending. Give each
parent/caregiver the short survey for feedback and what they would
like to see for next event.
Clean up space.
March 14, 2016

Evaluate surveys, keep notes re. program performance

and effectiveness. Inform Branch Manager of findings.

Note: This procedure for preparation, alerting participants and conducting short
survey will be repeated each month that the sensory story time is offered.

Branch Childrens Department
Staff will be needed for the following:
Promote the story time.
Conduct the story time.
Set up before program and clean up after program.
Circulation Services Department
Staff will be needed to:
Promote the program to families at the circulation desk.
Marketing Department
Create promotional materials for the program.
Cleaning Crew
Clean up after programs.

Communication Plan:
Promotional posters to be placed around the library
Promotional flyers and post cards will be given out at the circulation desk, nearby
schools, local community center, and religious organizations
Branch staff will be informed during monthly staff meetings

Estimated Project Costs:

$0 to $30 monthly - dependent upon supplemental supplies purchased monthly.

Project Risks:
Participants fail to show up or low attendance.
Children have allergies or emergent health concern that prevent them from
participating in the program.
Bad weather or power outage prohibit program from taking place.
Short-staffing and Childrens staff are unable to conduct program.

Beloglovsky, Miriam and Daly, Lisa. Early Learning Theories Made Visible. 2015.
Delaney, Tara. 101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Aspergers, and
Sensory Processing Disorders. 2009.
Hanscom, Angela. The Decline of Play in Preschoolers. 2015.
Klipper, Barbara. Programming for Children and Teens With Autism Spectrum
Disorder. 2014.
OBrien-Palmer, Michelle. Sense-Abilities. 1998.
Steinberg, Danielle. Developing and Cultivating Skills Through Sensory Play. 2015.

ALSC: A Brief Sensory Story Time How-To Guide
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Data and Statistics: Prevalence (2010)
http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html. Accessed on December 14, 2015.
Facts about ASD:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html. Accessed on Dec. 14, 2015.
Pinterest Board: ALSC Sensory Story Time Board
Popular Sensory Story Time Books
Snails: Special Needs and Inclusive Library Services Blog