It’s a sunny Saturday at Sackville Public Library, and the Lucas family has travelled in from Beaver Bank to post up and do some exploring.
Maliah, who is 9, comes in from playing by the Community Garden to join her three brothers. They’ve kicked off their boots and are exploring items from the Library’s Autism Tool Kits, created in partnership with Autism Nova Scotia. Maliah settles in and quietly focuses on tipping and turning a Spiral Tube filled with water and colourful bobbles.
It’s no surprise this is her go-to item. She loves fish and the ocean.
Halifax Public Libraries and Autism Nova Scotia joined forces in Fall 2017 to bring Autism Tool Kits to the Library collection. Sensory, Visual, and Fidget kits are now available for borrowing. Families and individuals can use the kits for researching which tools best suit their needs, and follow up by purchasing or creating their own tools.
“I’d heard about the kits on Twitter,” says Dad, Chad. Maliah is on the autism spectrum, and is semi-verbal. Chad and his wife, Shawna, have remarked that certain items they’ve tried have helped Maliah connect and communicate with her brothers. They’re looking to purchase certain favourites.
The boys also enjoy the kits. The ghost suit—a compression item—is a favourite, as clearly demonstrated when they test it out to chase one another and Maliah among the shelves.
The Library is familiar ground for the kids. They are all cardholders and know how to borrow and place holds online.
Now, the Library has taken their family experience beyond books.
“We’re happy to see something like this at the Library. We can count on the Library to be a place with something for all of us,” says Chad.
Maliah seems to feel the same, because even though she has donned the ghost suit by the end of the afternoon, her smile is apparent from underneath it.
This story was originally featured as a 'storybook' in our 2017-18 Annual Report. View and download the full report here