Special Needs

would you complain?

I signed DS1 up for storytime at the library (he is globally delayed and small so most people think he is about a year younger than he is).

When I got there the first time I had to show my library card to finish registering.  She bruntly informed me that I was there on the wrong day, storytime for kids 2 and under is on weds not Mon. I politely said that he was 2.5 and she looked him up and down, then looked at me and said "OH.".

She finished registering me and storytime started later. DS1 didn't have a good time, he had 2 therapies that morning and was just done.  The entire time she just kept giving us the stink eye every time DS1 would act up.  He was being a 2 yr old, didn't want to sit and listen to the story, and when I tried to get him to focus he started whining.  So we left early.   A few of the other kids were struggling to be interested too, he wasn't the only one.

Today we went again (we missed the other ones due to illness and the hurricane).  DS1 had a great time and was really focused and listening and was really into it.  She handed out felt animals for the kids to put on the felt board for "Brown bear, brown bear who do you see?".  She goes to skip my DS1 because he can't walk to the board and so I stick my hand out to accept one for him.  She gives me a dirty look and says "Well you're going to have to help him then!".  She had a very loud and rude tone to her voice.

I understand it's not a special needs geared story time, but I do feel it should be inclusive.  DS1 wasn't inhibiting the story time or distracting the other children and he has as much right to be there.  I just felt like we were really singled out.  I don't know if she thought I was lieing about his age, or that she just didn't want to deal with him.

It was just really frustrating. 

To my boys:  I will love you for you Not for what you have done or what you will become I will love you for you I will give you the love The love that you never knew

Re: would you complain?

  • Hell yes, I'd complain! OMG, that makes me fume for you.

    Our children's librarians are the sweetest people. One of them even did a few minutes on feeding tube awareness during their awareness week in February and made story time all about different ways of eating, because one of the little boys who regularly attends has a G-tube (which none of us would've known, but his family is very open to sharing info about it). 

    And it's not SN-oriented at all, but I can tell you we've always felt welcome and like we're just one of the crowd. 


    DD1, 1/5/2008 ~~~ DD2, 3/17/2010
  • Holy $hit- that is awful!  I would also call upon attention that the library is paid for by tax payer money, therefore should be following some ADA guidelines, and make even story time accessible to all!!!!!!!!!!
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  • Yes I absolutely would complain. You're not out of line for doing so.
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  • I would absolutely complain. That's obnoxious. We sometimes participate in slightly younger age activities when gross motor skills are involved, but they're not always the best fit.

    If you were doing anything drop off or showed signs of not being willing to help him I would say you should let them know about his needs in advance, for for story time where you are there? I'd expect to be included. Sounds like the woman shouldn't be working with kids...2 year olds are fidgety and cooperate when they want to at the best of times.

  • I would for sure address the issue with the library.  That's messed up that the lady would be rude to any child, let alone one with special needs.  How obnoxious!
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  • I am appalled by this. Yes, please complain! That woman is disgusting and your child deserves the same acceptance and opportunity as every other child.
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  • I would absolutely complain- we have issues all the time with people thinking DS is much younger than he is b/c he is so small. I don't understand why people think we would lie about his age, what we would be gaining from doing that?! It's so ridiculous.

    Anyhow- we do a lot of activities at our local library (numerous different story times) and I would be very upset if that happened to us. I would call the branch manager and talk with them- chances are they will want to know that this is going on. Have you had a chance to talk with any of the other parents at story time? Not that it's an excuse but it could just be that this specific librarian sucks and/or is not a pleasant person in general. We found that the story times at the branch up the street from our house were pathetic compared to the story times at the other branches- we decided to travel to the other branches and found them SO much better (largely b/c the librarians doing them were much more attuned to the ages of the kids). After talking with other parents I found out that XYZ library branch is just notorious for having a crappy teacher :-/  

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  • Yes I would complain. There is no reason why she needs to be treating you rudely and negatively. Frankly, she is not being very "customer oriented" (if you want to call it that) and I would think any boss would want to know if their employee is treating people that way.
  • I would complain. I am mad they did this to you and your DS.


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  • Absolutely.  
    You would think since she noticed his size she would already have the brain function rolling in that something could be up with him.  Even if he was just a preemie that could explain lots of delays.

    I know explaining things to random people can seem awkward.  I always feel like it's my way of saying pity party for one!  But, the fact is our children go through SO MUCH, they deserve to have fun at story time, not be picked on by a teacher!

    Let us know how it goes! 

    DD1(4):VSD & PFO (Closed!), Prenatal stroke, Mild CP, Delayed pyloric opening/reflux, Brachycephaly & Plagiocephaly, Sacral lipoma, Tethered spinal cord, Compound heterozygous MTHFR, Neurogenic bladder, Urinary retention & dyssynergia, incomplete emptying, enlarged Bladder with Poor Muscle Tone, EDS-Type 3. Mito-Disorder has been mentioned

    DD2(2.5): Late term premie due to PTL, low fluid & IUGR, Reflux, delayed visual maturation, compound heteroygous MTHFR, PFAPA, Bilateral kidney reflux, Transient hypogammaglobulinemia, EDS-Type 3

  • Absolutely complain.  Regardless of whether it's a special needs storytime, it's held at a public library for kids his age.  That means your kiddo has every right to participate the same as every other kid there. 
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  • That is pretty terrible, esp in a library & the children's section!... that being said, I would actually approach the particular librarian before complaining to her boss, esp if you plan to return & she turns out to be the regular storytime person-- like in any work situation, I think it is better to go to the person before you run to their boss.... I am not sure how you feel about sharing anything personal about him but if you are, I think I would just give her a brief explanation of his situation and that while he might need some extra help, you are happy to help facilitate his participation in storytime and hope that she will be understanding & patient with him and other kids who might not do things in the 'usual' way she expects or wants them to, or whatever. If you do not want to discuss anything about your son, then perhaps just a short statement about how you realize she might not have much experience with kids of different backgrounds, but your son really loves participating in storytime and you are happy to help him out with any activities, and even offer to 'help' if the library would like any resources about making their activities friendly to all kids ;).  If she responds negatively then I would move on to the boss or whoever but I think you have to give her a chance to respond & reflect on her reaction. Maybe you'll be surprised?
  • Wow, I'm so sorry she was so rude to you and your son! I would be livid. I would definitely complain to the director.

    Also though, was there a minimum age or suggested age range for the story time you went to? If the other story time she mentioned is for kids "2 and under" (rather than "under 2") then I would think that would be where a 2.5 y/o would go, unless there's overlap age-wise between the two story times.

    fraternal twin boys born january 2009
  • As a librarian, I am appalled.  Where on earth is this?  At the public libraries I am familiar with, one doesn't need to sign up to attend story time.  And if one does need to register for programming so we can get a number count, etc. we don't have to show our library card-- but maybe it is a budget thing so I will try to give some slack there.  But not being inclusive and being exclusive and having a bad attitude toward a child is just wrong.  I don't currently work in a library (over saturated market, no jobs), but I interned in a public library in the children's department and we always allowed as much participation as possible for anyone.  So if a kid or family sees an activity they didn't register for but want to join in we let them join in as much as we can.  Heck yeah they can grab some cotton balls and glue.  It is about being a youth services librarian, which means serving youth, not just putting up with their presence. 
  • Ask to speak to the library director about this.
  • Since your child is 2 yo, the two and under group may be a better fit for him because that is technically his age group. Considering that he also has delays, I would try that as oppossed to the 3 and older group you have been attending.
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