Garfield County Public Library District

Jaimie Schauf
  • Library Employee

I am currently a library employee, however my story starts before I began working at the library. I have 3 kids who would request to visit the library every week just to see what kind of programs they had going on. Being an avid reader myself, I was encouraged that my kids were asking to go to the library, wanting to engage in learning, but library days were challenging for my youngest. She had a hard time sitting still & engaging in the activities that were going on. She would complain about the noise or the lights or the temperature or the way this or that felt to her, she couldn't find the right picture book, etc. Then I started working at the library and shortly there after she was diagnosed with Autism. Upon receiving this diagnosis, I immediately jumped into requesting every book on Autism I could get my hands on, including medical journals that you can't just pick up in your average book store. I read and read and learned as much as I could about the various signs and symptoms of ASD. About a year later, my library district hosted a program for kids on the spectrum and they brought in local services to help parents with resources and how to sign up for them. This program saved my daughter's mental well being, we were connected to various therapists and activities she could do and that there are other kids just like her. They helped me to understand it's ok that she puts rocks or marbles in her shoes and walks on them, it's a normal thing for her to hate her clothes one day and love them the next, or refuse to have sheets on her bed, they are all part of her sensory issues and just who she is. They also helped me to understand the significance of getting a weighted blanket for her and how this would help calm her when she was frustrated or angry. We now have a staff member that is on the spectrum and I pick her brain quite a bit about what life is like as an adult on the spectrum, what challenges she faces and how she balances work and home life. She has helped me to understand that when you meet one person with ASD you have met one person with ASD, that each person is individual and what is or isn't an issue for one doesn't necessarily mean that every person with ASD faces those same issues. It is reason like these that I love my libraries not only as an employee, but as a patron and parent as well. Go Librarians!!!