Beginning this month, the High Point Public Library will offer a monthly “sensory story time” that will be filled with crafts, songs, stories and other activities “designed to support neurodivergent patrons better.”

The active library, which prides itself on the large number of services, programs and special events it provides to those in the High Point area, made the announcement in a Tuesday, Jan 10 press release.

In 2022, in an effort to better reach all members of the community, the High Point Library Children’s Division became a Certified Autism Center.

That designation – which is awarded by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards – is given to organizations that complete training and certification programs meant to help the staff “better understand and welcome autistic or sensory-sensitive guests and their families.”

Sarah Nareau, the librarian for Children’s Services at the High Point Library, said this week that adding the new story time program just made sense.  It was a natural progression for the Children’s Division after completing the certification in order to interact better with neurodivergent patrons.

“This program is so important because our mission is to serve everyone in our community with quality materials and programs,” she said. “Becoming a Certified Autism Center helps us to create understanding and acceptance for our neurodivergent patrons.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 44 children has been found to have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Autism – which is more than four times more common among boys than among girls – occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.