Author's note: Here is a link for those of you interested in the efforts of librarians to make libraries more accessible for people with autism. I think it's fantastic that an effort is being made to help patrons with ASD and their families. (Thank you for the link, Joyce!)
The Librarian's Son
I should spend some time at the site I mentioned in the note, though I'm not sure it will help us. I'm beginning to think getting my son to be comfortable in a library is impossible. This is ironic because my husband has been a reference librarian at one academic library or another for fifteen years and counting. You'd think a librarian's son would either like or at least love libraries.
Alas, no. My ten year old with ASD gets louder, more anxious, and generally more "silly" in a library than in most places. It's not just one library. We've been in at least three different buildings housing books and the behavior has been not so great at any of them. I'm not so sure what it is. He does have sensory issues (with a loud intercom system and an emergency blinky and beepy system that went off at an unfortunate time during one vistit at the library where his dad works). But that is the only library that is known to emit harsh sounds.
My son was almost five when his dad started work at the current institution, but he's had difficulty with his behavior since I started taking him for library visits when he was three or four years old. It doesn't seem to matter whether it is a university library or a public library with a good children's section. He can behave and will behave in most public places. Just not the library.
I was hoping that we'd sign up for the summer reading program this year, but a dismal visit this summer sort of dashed those thoughts. Oh well. I intend to keep trying to take him as he gets older. He does love to read, and maybe someday he will learn to relax in the building where all the books (and more) are. There is always hope.