For immediate release | April 12, 2011

2011 ALSC Charlemae Rollins President’s Program to discuss serving special needs, autism in the library

CHICAGO - At the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) will be hosting the Charlemae Rollins President’s Program at 8 am. CDT on Monday, June 27.

The program is entitled “How Libraries can Best Serve Special Needs Patrons, Especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).”

The keynote speaker is Dr. Ricki Robinson, a leader in developing multidisciplinary treatment plans for children with ASD and author of “Autism Solutions” (in press). Robinson is co-director of Descanso Medical Center for Development and Learning in La Canada, Calif. She is a clinical professor of pediatrics at the Keck School Medicine of USC and senior attending physician at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She has been in private pediatric practice for over 30 years, specializing in children with developmental delays for more than 20 years.

Joining Dr. Robinson in a panel discussion will be authors Cynthia Lord and Francisco X. Stork, and librarian Patricia Twarogowski, who has been recognized for her effective programming for special needs children.

Cynthia Lord is the author of two novels, "Rules" and "Touch Blue," and two picture books, "Hot Rod Hamster" and "Happy Birthday, Hamster" (August, 2011). In her Newbery Honor novel "Rules," 12-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life, which is almost impossible with a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. A former teacher and the mother of a son with autism, Lord said, "I wrote 'Rules' to explore some of my own questions about living with someone who sees the world so differently than I do, but also to show a full experience of family life with a child with autism: the happy moments, the heartbreaking ones, the ones that make me laugh."

Young adult author Francisco X. Stork is the author of many young adult novels including "Last Summer of the Death Warriors," "Marcelo in the Real World," "Behind the Eyes" and "The Way of the Jaguar." The third novel from Stork, "Marcelo in the Real World," is the story of 17-year-old Marcelo Sandoval and his discovery of the world the rest of us think we know. Marcelo hears music no one else can hear, part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify.

“A national leader in the field of autism, ALSC is excited to host Dr. Ricki Robinson, whose medical practice is devoted to an integrative approach to the education and care of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders” said ALSC President Julie Corsaro. “Furthermore, we are proud to host two award-winning authors, Cynthia Lord and Francisco X. Stork, who share passion and commitment to helping others learn more about the world of autism.”

The 2011 ALSC Charlemae Rollins President’s Program takes place at 8 a.m. CDT on Monday, June 27, 2011. For more information about this program and other ALSC programs at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference, please visit


Dan Rude