If you’ve got a child or person in your life that has special needs, then hopefully you’re already well aware of the amazing resources available to you for free from the Special Needs Library in Nerang.
Gold Coast library provides free equipment for people with special needs
The Special Needs Collection is housed in a room just inside the entrance of the Nerang Library and offers families an incredible array of small and large equipment to help with the development and rehabilitation of children and adults.
The Gold Coast City Council employs exercise physiologist Sam Connell and physiotherapist Jill Loane to work with families to ensure they are getting the support they need, especially those who feel isolated by a disability, illness or injury.
Who would benefit from visiting the Nerang Special Needs Library?
The service isn’t just for small children, with many teenagers, school leavers and adults borrowing from the library. It has a range of specialised equipment and resources to benefit adults particularly those who have arthritis, an intellectual impairment, Parkinson’s disease or memory problems.
“We can help parents with a recent Autism or ASD diagnosis in regards to occupational therapy equipment. Usually when a diagnosis is first given caregivers spend money on resources only to find they don’t work. If they visit the library they can trial some of our equipment for free to see if it works first, then make a decision on whether it’s worth buying,” she says.
Other rehabilitation items help those who have suffered a stroke, head injury or who have dementia. The specialised equipment can also help those with injuries enhance hand and finger movements, practise communication and develop visual perceptual skills.
What services do the support officers give members?
Sam and Jill are so passionate about the library and have thrown their hearts and souls into spreading the word about this fantastic resource. Nervous newcomers are welcomed with a smile and are offered as much or as little help as asked for. They have even set up a special needs Pinterest page where they share their ideas and knowledge.
As support officers they provide members with:
- Ongoing support and guidance to find the most appropriate resources and equipment to meet the customer’s developmental, physical, behavioural and/or rehabilitation needs
- Engaging and adaptive workshops (e.g. Saori Weaving)
- An accessible and welcoming environment, with clearly labelled resources
- New and engaging ways to utilise existing equipment
- Opportunity to input into the service (encouraging customers/carers to suggest new resources and workshop topics)
- Understanding, empathy and clinical knowledge/experience
Can anyone use this library?
Yes and no, the resources in the Special Needs Collection are available to any person with a disability (or their legal guardian) who live within the city of Gold Coast and is a city libraries member. A referral from an allied health professional such as speech or occupational therapist, a teacher, general practitioner or community health nurse is required to join.
How can I become a member?
Before you can gain membership you need a referral from either a health professional or educational professional and the SNL referral form is available online or in hard copy. Once you have a current referral you can book in for a library induction session.
This initial appointment is used to introduce the new members and their families to everything they need to know about the special needs collection and to spend quality time with Jill or Sam on an individual basis.
Is there a limit to how much I can borrow?
To ensure that everyone has equal access to the resources, 10 items can be borrowed for a four-week period at any one time. You can put resources on hold via the library catalogue and most items, other than large bulky items, can be made available for collection from any of the Gold Coast’s libraries.
If you’re interested the best thing to do is to visit or phone the Nerang Library, 5581 7180 and express an interest in joining the Special Needs Library (SNL).