The Bega Valley Shire Library Service has won a state-wide award for its involvement in hosting after school workshops for young people with high functioning autism.
The NSW Public Libraries Association award recognises council’s involvement in facilitating a valuable program that has gone on to be a self-sufficient community run asset.
Programs and Partnerships Officer, Scott Baker said the Bega Valley Autism Lab was started in partnership with local resident Monika Ryan, who saw a similar model in Melbourne.
The purpose of the lab is to offer an engaging, technology-focused environment for young people with autism.
“We found that using the common theme of technology really helped to develop social and communication skills,” he said.
“While it is fantastic to receive this award, the real bonus for us is to see the much needed after school club being so popular in the community.
“The lab has grown to the point where it has secured a permanent venue, and was recently granted funding to pay professional mentors.
The Library sees it as an extremely valuable program and continues its support through administration, technical advice and equipment.
“This after-school club can help young people connect with each other through shared technology interests.
“Technology interests may include gaming, creating games, coding, computer programming and design or online media,” Mr Baker said.
Bega Valley Shire Library Service Coordinator, Cassandra Margules said the lab was proving itself as a much needed service for local young people.
“The results have been impressive with many of the children showing improvements in communication and socialising skills, but also furthering their interest and knowledge of technology,” she said.
After the lab’s first session in February Mr Baker said he was “blown away” by not only the high level of technology-based skills the children have, but also their creative application of their knowledge.
For more information call Bega Library on 6499 2127.
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