Project ENABLE Launch: Disability Awareness

Project Enable via kwout

Dr. Ruth Small announced recently on the AASL Forum the launching of Project ENABLE, a training website for “Expanding Nondiscriminatory Access By Librarians Everywhere,” sponsored by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant from the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS).  The project website explains that,

“the overall purpose of Project ENABLE is to provide ongoing professional development to raise the level of librarians’ understanding of and sensitivity for the library and information needs of students with disabilities and their ability to develop programs and services, provide adequate facilities, and select appropriate resources and technologies to meet those needs.”

I registered to participate on the site this morning, and I took the initial 30-question assessment that precedes the five modules of the online training (Disability Awareness, School Disability Law, Evaluating Accessibility, Planning Instruction, and Planning an Accessible Library).  I was familiar with many questions, though admittedly the refresher was useful on topics like IEP-related policies and ADA/IDEA, but some topics have evolved or are brand new since I took special education courses or school district training.  E-readers and accessibility, universal design principles, and the definitions and characteristics of learning disabilities are some areas that I’ll focus upon as I pursue the training modules.

From Dr. Small’s AASL Forum announcement,

“While the site’s main target audience is school librarians, we believe it will be a valuable resource for public and academic librarians, general and special educators, administrators, parents, and their communities. The site contains five self-paced learning modules, jam-packed with useful information in a variety of formats (text, video, photos, graphics, audio over PowerPoint and more). You will find information to read, videos to view, games to play, learning exercises to challenge you, and quizzes to assess your learning.”

I know that I will have to “take my vitamins” by studying the law and policy sections before exploring the resources and instruction modules – which is the part I’m really curious to try – but I can see already that this project will be a valued source for professional development for librarians, as well as for teachers, paraprofessionals, and other school staff, and a go-to learning tool for graduate courses in school librarianship.  Again, here’s the link:

Hat tip to Dr. Ruth Small and her team for developing and sharing Project ENABLE!

–Rebecca Morris

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