Library Spotlight

"Because of Family Place..."

Peggy Cohagen brought her two-year-old son John to a Parent/ Child Workshop at the Apache Junction Public Library at the encouragement for librarian Liz Burks. In addition to the chance to meet other parents and children, Cohagen knew that resource professionals would be on-hand to answer questions and and observe the children at play.

One of the five workshop sessions featured an expert in early childhood development, who asked Cohagen exactly how many words John spoke. Cohagen said none yet and mentioned the other concerns she had about her son's behavior. The expert told Cohagen she suspected autism and arranged for a home visit that very day. Within two weeks, John was registered for a full early intervention program, expenses covered by Arizona's Title 19 and Access programs.

 “I would not have all the services I have now, had she not been there to meet John, see his condition, and recognize the severity of it,” said Cohagen. “She pushed like crazy to get me all the services we have.”

“If I hadn’t gone to a Parent/Child Workshop with John-John, I don’t know how much longer it would have been to diagnose his autism, and I don’t know how much farther delayed he would have been,” she said. “As it is right now, at four, he’s reading, he’s speaking, he’s learning how to interpret other people’s emotions by their body language, which is incredibly difficult for an autistic person. And we’ve grown a whole lot, because we’ve learned a lot.”


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Library: Apache Junction Public Library


City, State: Apache Junction, AZ


Family Place Library Since: 2001


Population Served: 31,814 suburban and rural residents


Community Partners: Head Start, Early Head Start, Early Intervention, Central Arizona College, Pinal County Health Department

John Cohagen

Apache Junction (AZ) Public Library's 'Hand in Hand Early Literacy Center', opened in the spring of 2006, is an interactive space designed for children zero to five and their parents and/or caregivers.*

*The 'Hand in Hand Early Literacy Center' was made possible by funds granted by the Apache Junction Friends of the Library and the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records Agency, under the Library Services and Technology Act, which is administered by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.