What makes reading for understanding especially challenging for children on the autism spectrum? Autism Spectrum Disorders are a cluster of developmental disorders characterized by deficits in communication and social interactions as well as cognitive processing deficits. Learners within the spectrum exhibit a range of strengths and weaknesses, with a full range of intellectual abilities from above to below average.
No matter where children fall on the spectrum, children with autism spectrum disorders generally demonstrate well-developed word recognition skills, but their reading comprehension is severely impaired. To read for understanding, readers draw upon a wide range of cognitive abilities, such as inferencing and attention, motivational strategies, such as setting a purpose for reading, and knowledge, such as vocabulary and prior knowledge of the topic. Also, we know that students with ASD typically have a lack of back ground knowledge that also impacts a learner’s ability to read for meaning. In addition, vocabulary also has a significant effect on reading for meaning. Shades of meaning is one easy strategy to incorporate in your day to increase your students’ vocabulary skills. The link below is a complied list of inexpensive activities to incorporate in your reading lessons.