HIGH POINT, N.C. — The doors may be closed at the high point public library early in the morning, but the city and staff are opening many doors when it comes to inclusion.
Typically, libraries host a storytime for kids, but the storytime at the High Point Public Library looks different.
It's called Sensory Friendly Storytime and it allows kids with autism, ADHD, or who are neurodivergent to participate.
The High Point Public Library Children's Division Supervisor, Sarah Nareau, said it helps build social and emotional connections.
"I feel like the population that we're trying to support there's very much underserved in our community and what based in Guilford, Forsyth, in the city of High Point right now, there's only one other sensory-friendly, specific storytime available," said Nareau. "We really felt like that's something we wanted to offer our patrons and we've had schools in Davidson County and High Point reach out and be really excited to share it out with their students and their parents."
How it works is there is a schedule that shows kids and parents each activity planned, so no one is caught off guard. It helps kids know the routine and what to expect to navigate difficult transitions.
"Part of sensory storytime is letting parents and children know that we are welcoming and want them to know that we understand that there might be different behaviors than a neurotypical storytime and those are welcomed and accepted here," said Nareau.
That schedule includes singing a few songs, reading two to three books, and even enjoying a 20-minute unstructured playtime.
The toys for that playtime have these kids in mind because they are textured and have both sound and other visuals.
"I feel that there's a big need in the community for this, just raising awareness, welcoming newness and acceptance, and making sure that parents and children feel welcome because again, I feel like a lot of times when you think about storytime, there's a very set standard of what people expect and we need to make sure that it's inclusive to everyone," said Nareau.
The library does this once a month. As of now, the seating is limited, so be sure to go to the library's website to sign up.
You can find that information here.
The next Sensory Friendly Story Time is on February 12th, at 2:00 P.M.
To sign up please call (336) 883-3666 or sign up online here.
If you want to look ahead to what's in store for the activities, you can find all that information here.
Nareau said if there is a big enough interest in the sensory story time, the library would love to expand and have more sessions.