Snip20150804_1 Whether you knew it at the time or not, you have likely interacted with or assisted a library user with autism, as it is the fastest growing disability according to Autism Speaks, a national Autism advocacy organization. This course, designed by experts in both the library and autism fields, is a series of four independent, self-paced instructional modules that are intended for librarians and library staff to learn how to better serve their users on the autism spectrum. PALS is funded by a Laura Bush Professional Development grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


  1. Module One: About Autism in the Library

  2. By the end of this module, you will be able to:
    • Identify at least five observable characteristics that individuals with ASD might exhibit in a library setting.
    • Define autism and three recent facts in the identification and prevalence of the disorder.
    • Recommend three current resources that would support individuals with autism and their families in being successful patrons in the library.
    • Describe at least 3 situations in which the library can increase community involvement for individuals with ASD.

  3. Module Two: Arranging the Library Environment

  4. By the end of this module, you will be able to:
    • Make recommendations for potential improvements to areas or activities in the library to better meet the needs of individuals with ASD.
    • Construct visual supports to encourage communication and independence in the library of ASD patrons.
    • Develop environmental alternatives to increase participation of individuals with ASD.

  5. Module Three: Communicating with Individuals with Autism

  6. By the end of this module, you will be able to:
    • Develop opportunities for social interaction and communication between staff and patrons with ASD in the library.
    • List strategies to promote communication and prevent or decrease disruptive or challenging behaviors of individuals with ASD.
    • Identify how to use augmentative/alternative communication strategies to support independence and participation in the library for patrons with ASD.

  7. Module Four: Interacting with Technology

  8. By the end of this module, you will be able to:
    • Describe situations in which the library can provide services to parents or caregivers related to technology.
    • List strategies that the library can use to enhance the experience and independent utilization of technology and social media for individuals with ASD.
    • Describe situations in which the library can facilitate appropriate technology training for individuals with ASD.
Research-based checklists, examples of materials, tip sheets, lists, templates, and additional resources are included throughout the course to assist you to implement best practices in your unique library setting.