La Mesa, California - A simple suggestion from a parent at the La Mesa Branch Library has initiated a new program for kids with autism.

“It’s one of the best things I’ve heard about in a while for kids on the spectrum,” said Matthew Wion, a dad with two kids on the spectrum who has been taking advantage of the new program.

It’s called Sensory Playtime and Librarian Veronica Estrada implemented it after she was approached by a parent and consulted with San Diego Autism Society.

Families with children who have autism can visit the branch the first Sunday of the month, one hour before it opens, and have their very own playtime, free of distractions or other patrons who might want it a bit quieter.

“It’s really nice for a family who can’t normally access a library because it’s a quiet place… no one’s telling them they need to lower their volume; no one is telling them they can’t express themselves physically,” said Lindsey Pohlson, who’s with the San Diego Autism Society. “They get to look at books and play and enjoy the library like any other family without fear of judgment.”

If you’re interested in this program, you can visit the La Mesa Branch Library at 8074 Allison Avenue, La Mesa, CA 91942, or give them a call at (619) 469-2151.

And good news for North County residents: a similar program called “Sensory Browsing Hour” is now up and running and is held on the second Sunday of the month from 11 a.m. to noon at the Poway Library branch.