Like many other libraries, we are developing our response to the needs of neurodivergent children. As part of this initiative we have acquired a set of Sensory Toys which are kept in a box in the Children’s Area. A pack of disinfecting wipes is available near the box of toys for use before and after children have played with the toys.
Neurodiversity includes Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASC), a lifelong developmental condition which affects how people communicate and interact with the world, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a condition that affects people's behaviour. Children with Autism and ADHD often have sensory issues, whether hyper-sensitivities or hypo-sensitivities. Both types of sensitivities affect how the child processes and reacts to different types of stimuli. Children who are hypersensitive are overly responsive to stimulants - often called “sensory overload.” Both regular and extreme stimuli, like bright lights or strong smells, can affect hyper-sensitive children, leaving them feeling overwhelmed. According to Bromley, Hare, Davison and Emerson (2004), 70% of children who have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are hyper-sensitive to auditory stimuli. As opposed to hyper-sensitivity, some children with autism are actually under-responsive to senses and stimulants.