Join CafeMom Today! Autism Spectrum Disorder: Treatments: Teaching Children with Autism to read!

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Teaching Children with Autism to read!

Teaching Reading to Children with ASD. What’s The Best Way?

There is no one way to teach reading to children with ASD. Learning styles vary between children so a range of strategies should be tried. Some children find reading remarkably easy, and very quickly learn to read far beyond their ability to understand the words they are reading (this is called hyperlexia), while others find it much more difficult to learn to read.

One approach is to use phonics, which means learning the letter sounds and blending them together to decipher words. Another approach is to learn to read whole words, and to be able to recognize them on sight.

I have found that, on the whole, teaching phonics can be more difficult than is normally the case with typically developing children. Many young children with autism have little or no language, and may not be able to repeat the letter sounds accurately or at all. It is a task all in itself to get some children just to repeat something when directed to. For you to be able to teach them to not only repeat those sounds but to use them as a decoding strategy in reading can be a big task indeed.

Some children learn the letter sounds quite easily, but find it much more difficult to use their knowledge of these sounds to blend them into words when reading. However, strategies that you would use with other children may still be useful even though they may take a bit longer: such strategies might include developing an awareness of the initial letter sounds of words, and playing with rhyming and alliteration.

Many children have a learning style based on their visual strengths, and may find it easier (especially at first) to learn that words are meaningful, and are useful in getting their needs met. Such children may benefit from being taught to learn to read a core vocabulary of words by sight. Your child may already have noticed the print in the environment, especially in areas in which they have a particular interest.

Once a child has learnt that words are meaningful, you can then increase their sight vocabulary by including other words that are of less direct interest to the child, but are nonetheless important for them to learn.

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