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Autism Welcome Here Grant PRESS RELEASE
March 11, 2017

Grant Awarded to Albert Wisner Public Library to Serve Teens with Autism

The "Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More" Grant Committee is proud to announce the Albert Wisner Public Library in Warwick, New York as this year's grant recipient. As the winner of this grant, the library will receive $5000 for their project "Improve Your Social Life: Social Skills for Tweens and Teens with Autism."

The "Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More" Grant is sponsored by Libraries and Autism: We're Connected (www.librariesandautism.org). This grant honors the memory of Meg Kolaya and her groundbreaking work as co-founder of Libraries and Autism, as well as her contributions in promoting inclusion, connecting libraries and the autism community, and bringing awareness to the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The Albert Wisner Public Library will provide a series of workshops designed to support the development of social skills for teens and tweens with ASD. In this series, participants will have the opportunity to learn about the library, form a book group, enhance their social media etiquette, express themselves through art projects, play board games, take part in a group dance, and more. The program has three primary goals: introduce and encourage social skills that teens and tweens can apply in the library and beyond; provide those on the spectrum and their families a safe and familiar place in the community; demonstrate respect for neurodiversity and inclusion.

Barbara Klipper, creator of the grant said, "I am delighted that this year's grant winner is Albert Wisner Public Library. Their parent-initiated proposal was well-written, is easily replicable and serves an often overlooked subgroup of the ASD population. In 2016, we funded projects for preschoolers and for college students. This year, we are funding an initiative for tweens and teens. It is my hope that these grant-winning projects will inspire a wide range of libraries to serve people of all ages with ASD."

Daniel F. Flores, Ph.D. is from the Judith J. Carrier Library at Tarrant County College in Texas, one of the recipients of last year's "Autism Welcome Here" Grant. The college developed a new project to support a successful transition to college students with ASD. When asked about the impact this grant had on his college community, Flores said, "I am thankful for the Autism Welcome Here Grant. Our Autism Spectrum College Information Talks Project at Tarrant County College offers expert-led forums designed around the research question-how can we facilitate a successful transition to college for students with ASD? My own awareness of students with ASD has grown immensely, and this experience has opened my eyes to the amazing capabilities and gifts of college students with ASD."

The "Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services, and More" Grant Committee extends their congratulations to Albert Wisner Public Library and to all of the libraries that submitted proposals.

Applications for the 2018 grant(s) will be accepted starting September 1, 2017. More information about the grant can be found at www.librariesandautism.org/grant.

Members of the 2017 "Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services, and More" Grant Committee include Daniel Flores (2017); Renee Grassi (2016, 2017); Barbara Klipper (2016, 2017); Adria Nassim (2016, 2017); Suzanne Schriar (2016, 2017); Debra Vines (2016, 2017); and Dan Weiss (2016, 2017).

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