Resources for Children with Autism Available at CPL

We’re committed to making Chicago Public Library locations warm and engaging spaces for children on the autism spectrum.


  • Rocking bowl: Each CPL location has a rocking bowl. A rocking bowl is large enough for a child to sit inside and get comforting sensory stimulation by rocking or spinning.
  • SensoryCPL App: Download the SensoryCPL app to help with your next visit to Thomas Hughes Children’s Library at Harold Washington Library Center. This app, developed in partnership with Infiniteach, includes customizable visual schedules, text and video social narratives, and Tap to Talk communication cards. Available for Android and Apple devices.
  • Sensory Backpacks: Kids at Thomas Hughes Children’s Library at Harold Washington Library Center can check out a backpack containing resources to help while they visit the library. Backpacks include helpful information and materials such as noise-reducing headphones, communication cards, a weighted stuffed animal and fidgets.
  • Steffy Play Cubes: We’ve added Steffy Play Cubes at some locations, serving as a solution for children with sensory avoiding tendencies. These are big enough for a child to sit inside, and can make for a smaller, quieter nook in which to read, play or calm down.
  • Meeting rooms: Does your family need a quieter space? Book a meeting room or study room online, or ask if one is available during your visit.
  • Autism Reads for Kids and Parents: We recommend informational books and stories about kids with autism.


  • MSI Sensory Science Club: Kids can be scientists in these event series exploring a variety of scientific concepts in fun ways. These clubs are for kids 7 and up and are designed to work for kids with special needs.
  • Sensory Story Times: These fun, highly interactive events build literacy skills and engage the senses with books, songs and play. These special story times for kids up to 12 and their families are designed to work for kids with special needs.
  • Special events: For more information about special events, call Children's Services at (312) 747-4780.

Helpful Website

  • The Autism Program of Illinois: TAP offers information about autism as well as tips for families and caregivers, including guides to introducing children to community resources such as libraries.