Guthrie Memorial Library in Hanover is a “saving grace” for us since it is one of Christian’s favorite places to go. He is happy, calm and well behaved; over the past five years he has only had two meltdowns there. The staff is always kind, caring and patient with Christian; they always make a point to greet him, as soon as he walks through the door, even if he doesn’t acknowledge them. I always instruct him to greet them back and then he places our books and/or DVD returns on the counter. During our two meltdowns there, the staff saw that I was struggling with Christian, and of course he was getting very loud, and they would come over and ask if they could try to find what Christian was looking for and would try to redirect him to other books to see if that would calm him down. When these types of situations happen in public, I never expect anyone to come help us; however, it was such a relief to know that the staff understood and that I had some support. I am also grateful that we have not been told that we cannot return because he is too loud or upset anyone.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not think that the world should adjust or change in order to accommodate Christian. All I would like to see is more understanding and patients from people when he is having a meltdown or irritable in a public place. There have been a couple of places that we have been asked to “not return until he is more manageable”.
That is why I am so grateful for Guthrie Memorial Library’s staff, I wouldn’t know what to do if we were not allowed to return there. Over the years, Christian is now acknowledging some of the staff and also the other kids that are there.
He also enjoys the reading dog therapy groups that come into the library. Reading Therapy Dogs are compromised of three different dog therapy groups and they come in three times a week, Wednesday and Thursday evenings as well as Saturday afternoons. The program is open to kids of all ages. Click here to view the library’s calendar of events.
Christian often asks to “go to library”, even on Sundays, when I have tried to explain to him the library is closed. He doesn’t understand why we just can’t go and I unlock the door to let him in. In 2010, we often had meltdowns on every Sunday because he just did not understand that the library closed. So I thought that if I take him there on a Sunday, show him that it is closed he would understand. Nope, there we were in front of the library having a massive meltdown, screaming at me “open!, go in!”. I calmly stated to him, many times, “Today is Sunday, the library is closed.” This didn’t help.
Fortunately, for the past six months, we had not had any “Sunday meltdowns” due to the library being closed. He now responds well with me redirecting him to the bookstore in the mall or going to Ollie’s. This autism parent is extremely grateful for Guthrie Memorial Library!