A needs assessment survey published in 2005 details the first phase in a partnership with the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University, Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center (HAM-TMC) Library, and Family to Family Network (F2FN). F2F provides services and support to families with special needs children in the Houston area. The needs assessment survey was the first phase of a joint effort to increase health information access to Texas families of special needs children. Both the survey methods and questions are detailed in the article, and would be an excellent template for any biomedical library interested in partnering with local resources to increase outreach and education to any special needs population.
Huber JT, Dietrich JD, Cugini E, Burke S. F2F connection: a community health information needs assessment of Texas families who have children with chronic illnesses and/or disabilities and their care providers. J Med Libr Assoc 2005 Apr;93(2):278-281. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1082946/
For those that are comfortable with a needle, thread, and soldering iron, you can save a lot of money by converting your own toys for use with adaptive switches with this instructional video from Children’s Care Hospital and School in Sioux Falls. Arlen Klamm, Assistive Technology Coordinator, providers step-by-step instructions to adapt any electronic plush toy to work with a variety of adaptive switches.
The Toy and Technology Library in association with the Ohio State University Medical Center is a lending library for adaptive toys for children with special needs. Adaptive toys traditionally are more expensive than standard toys. By providing a free toy-lending service, parents can try out toys prior to purchase and work with a therapist to create an educational play environment.
Toy lending libraries are ideal additions to biomedical libraries in children’s hospitals, and have actually been around for decades in numerous countries. The University of Nottingham’s Toy Library was founded in 1970 while researching the development of play in children with disabilities, and remains active today. Child development case studies are taken when a family applies for membership; and both children and parents are provided with education and referrals to support the entire family. (1)