Pima County library offers sensory program for children with autism

Pima County offers specialized play experience for kids
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 6:53 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The Kirk-Bear Canyon Library in Pima County is offering a first-of-its-kind sensory program.

The goal is to help young kids who might have autism or other sensory needs.

Data shows there is a growing need as, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism affects 1 in 40 children born in Arizona.

That’s slightly more than the national average. Data also shows autism spectrum disorders are three times more likely to be identified in boys than in girls.

For the last couple of months, officials at the library have put together a sensory room to offer a specialized play experience. It’s for kids 5 years and younger and they get to enjoy the following:

  • Running their hands through sand and water or playing with Play-Doh.
  • A balance beam.
  • A room with headphones and dim lights to give kids a break from the noise.

This room is designed for children who may have autism but it’s also recommended for kids who have ADHD.

Experts say these types of rooms are important so kids can have the same chances to play and have fun as everyone else.

“We try to create a friendly welcoming environment for them so they can come to the library and enjoy the programs as well and feel like they have a home here at the library,” children’s services librarian Megan Hellwig said.

The sensory room is open for anyone 5 and under with adult supervision. There are still openings for kids for the two sensory room openings on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

This is available twice a month, and registration is available here.