I was prompted to find out about autism and it’s impact on children’s reading development when World Autism Awareness Day occurred earlier this month (April 2nd).
Autism is general term used to describe a range of developmental brain disorders. Depending on the severity of it, autism affects a child’s ability to read. There are varying levels to this disorder which would mean that children with autism will have different reading development levels. In many cases actually being able to read is not an issue rather it is the child’s comprehension of what is being read that is the problem.
Based on my readings, here are a few things to keep in mind when teaching autistic children to read:
- Know what interests your child and use books based on these to attract your child’s interest in books and in listening to stories. It may be animals, foods, etc.
- Keep reading sessions short to avoid the child becoming bored, frustrated or impatient.
- Keep distractions to a minimum and minimise noise levels.
- Use books with bright colours and clear pictures to aid comprehension (An example is Point to Happy, a book designed specifically for kids on the autism spectrum - see a review of this book here).
- Books that involve the child in the story (e.g. lift-the-flap, touch and feel) can help a child enjoy the reading experience.
- Use of games and interactive books on the computer may hold the attention of some autistic children.
Resources on Autism and Reading:
Resources on Autism and Muslims:
What, if any, has your experience been with a child who has autism learning to read or just interacting with books? I’d love to hear from you.