Library offers arts program for special needs children
The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library is starting a new arts and crafts program at the Lee Road Library specially designed to accommodate children with special needs and their caregivers.
“We’ve noticed that we don’t see these children very often at the library,” said Kornela Bogdanowicz, the Heights Libraries youth services librarian who developed the programs. “This could be due to the fact that until now we haven’t had programs for them, or it could be because they see the library as a place where you have to be quiet at all times and they don't think they would fit in. We want to show that there's a place for them here, regardless of their needs and abilities.”
Bogdanowicz said she realizes “special needs” is a broad term, and emphasizes that “anyone can come, whether their child has autism, a developmental delay, ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder], ADD [attention deficit disorder] or an emotional disorder.”
Bogdanowicz has designed the program to be more comfortable for special needs children than typical art and craft programs by limiting the number of child participants to 10, requiring the attendance of a caregiver, and setting up the room in a way that will create a comfortable space for the kids.
This includes dimmer lighting, space for kids to go if they get overwhelmed, and plenty of room to move about, play with toys and do whatever they need to do to feel comfortable. Therapists and family members are also encouraged to attend with the children.
In addition to providing a fun program, Bogdanowicz wants to provide a place for families of kids with special needs to get together, get to know each other and foster friendships and support. Participants are encouraged to socialize and play with toys after the program.
The program will be offered twice for different age groups. The Oct. 18, 10 a.m. program is for children ages 5–8, and the Nov. 15, 10 a.m. program is for children ages 9–12.
Registration is required, and opens two weeks before the programs. Visit www.heightslibrary.org or call 216-932-3600 for more information and to register. The Lee Road Library is located at 2345 Lee Road.
Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.