By DENISE A. RAYMO
---- — MALONE — A series of books for special-needs children and their parents is now available at Wead Library in Malone.
Nine books were purchased by Franklin County Public Health as part of the State Department of Health Children with Special Health Care Needs pilot program, focusing on children and young adults from newborns to age 21.
Topics include autism, sign language for the deaf, anxiety and stress, cleft palette and more.
Library director Susan Wool said four of the books are written for children, and the others are written at the adult level.
The books explain the child’s need and offer ways for parents to better understand, assist and participate in the child’s care and growth.
Wool said having specific books to refer to rather than general medical texts offers parents and children more options as they face medical and health-care issues.
And having them available at the library is beneficial to all.
She said many families may be unfamiliar with what Public Health does or may feel unsure about contacting that office, but anyone can visit the library and borrow the books.
“We can be a good source of information to those who use the library, and it may bring in people who don’t use the library regularly,” Wool said. “That way, (Public Health) can catch them here.”
She said the library will track usage of the books and pass that information to Public Health officials so it can determine which books are most useful and perhaps increase the number of copies available on a certain topic.
Wead Library, at 64 Elm St., is the first to participate in the program, and Public Health director Katie Strack plans to expand it to each library within Franklin County.
“I hope it’s going to be really successful,” Wool said.
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