This award-winning project is a collaboration between Leeds Library and Information Service, the Specialist Teachers Autism Response Service (STARS) team and NHS Leeds Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) Service. It won the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Libraries Change Lives Award 2009.
The project aims to benefit children and young people in Leeds, their parents and the professionals who support them by offering free access to Boardmaker software in 25 libraries across Leeds. It is available to anyone visiting the library and has been used by parents living outside the immediate area.
In order to properly support the Boardmaker software service for families within the library, library staff have received autism awareness training from the STARS and SLT teams, as well as training in Boardmaker.
As a result of feedback from parents the project has been expanded to offer monthly drop-in advice sessions for parents of children and young people on the autism spectrum. In addition the library service has increased its stock of books on autism with advice from the STARS team and now offer a comprehensive range for parents of children with autism.
Essential project elements:
1. Purchase of at least one Boardmaker software licence
2. Partnership working with relevant local authority SEN teams
3. Library staff training in autism and use of Boardmaker
4. Evaluation system for gathering user satisfaction and suggestions
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