What is sensory-friendly?
Pella Public Library is pleased to introduce sensory-friendly equipment and areas to the lineup of services that the library offers. We recognize that children and youth with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), as well as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have special needs, and Pella Public Library is committed to serving these members of our population.
What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)?
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a broad umbrella of disorders that can, among many other symptoms, sometimes cause an individual to have strong preferences or aversions to certain types of sensory input.
For example, a child may be very sensitive to loud noise, or bright light. Or, they may fidget constantly to receive more tactile stimulation than sitting still allows. These are just a small sample of the variety of sensory needs children may have.
What is Pella Public Library doing?
Several things. First, thanks to a donation from Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy, we are able to provide two sensory kits (pictured at right) for use in the library. These kits include a weighted lap blanket, noise-canceling headphones, and a variety of 'fidgets' intended for tactile stimulation.
Second, through a generous grant from the Marion County Community Foundation, we have purchased several items to meet sensory needs:
- Disc-O-Sit seats (22)
- Noise-canceling headphones (6)
- Play Tipi
Disc-O-Sits are special seats that allow both children and adults to wiggle and receive tactile feedback while they sit in a chair or on the floor. Six pairs of noise canceling headphones are intended for use in the story time room. The play tipi gives children a small space where they can go to self-regulate sensory input. The tipi reduces light and lowers sound, while providing an enclosed, comforting area inside the larger library.
Third, we have a separate Quiet Room that can be used if children or adults are feeling overwhelmed and need a sensory break. The small room features lower lighting, dampened sound, and a soft rocking chair.
How can I find and use sensory-friendly areas and equipment?
Look for the logo! Pictured at right is a logo which will help you to identify areas and equipment in our library that are sensory-friendly. At this time, all items are intended for use in the library and may not leave the building. You can find sensory-friendly items in the following locations: Sensory Kits may be checked out at the front desk with a library card.
Disc-O-Sits and Noise-Canceling Headphones are located in the story time room and may be borrowed for use anywhere in the building.
The Play Tipi is located near the children's nonfiction section and may be used at any time.
The Quiet Room is located near the children's nonfiction section. It requires a key. Access may be requested at the front desk.
Does my child have to have a doctor's diagnosis, paperwork, etc. to use these services?
Absolutely not! Some children simply have sensory preferences. For example, if your child dislikes the noise of the library, feel free to use a pair of our noise-canceling headphones. In the same way that automatic door openers may be used by many people who are not physically disabled, we expect these sensory tools to also benefit people who may not have, or need, a professional diagnosis.