help with teaching a child with autism to read
MOST HELPFUL POSTS
Paula - posted on 06/11/2009
I have one more suggestion to add to the rest of these wonderful ideas...use post it notes and put them on EVERYthing...lamps, tables, different furniture...everything you can think of...it's a little messy...lol but when your child sees the word printed on things she interacts with on a daily basis, it can make a huge difference. A picture of a cup with the word next to it is great, but taking a drink from a cup with the word on it relates the object to the application, making a connection that pictures take longer to make. I used this method my my twins (both with high functioning autism)...they just finished 1st grade, but both read on a 3rd grade level, and have a better comprehension of what they read than most other children in their class (from the teacher, not me...lol).
Good luck, take a deep breath, and remember, it will happen when it's meant to happen.
Maria - posted on 06/11/2009
Hi, i have an 11 year old boy that is low on the autistic spectrum. i found that words in different colour on simple palm cards worked well for him when i was teaching him to read. you may nee to try different colours to see which ones work best for your daughter though. i made my own as i found that the ones in the shops with pictures were too 'busy' for him to concentrate. Hope this helps, if you have any other queries send me a message and i will try to help.
Many children with autism need visual cues to help them understand words. My son was in a pre-school program that used "PECS" to help him communicate. Picture Exchange Communication System (or something like that). They each had folders of the vocabulary words they used most often to communicate. Each word was represented on a card by a picture with the word below it. Eventually my son was able to put together "sentences" with the cards "I want a snack" or "I want to play," etc. By first and second grade, reading was introduced the same way. Every word was taught with a corresponding picture. My son was able to read "sentences" this way (sentences that related to the action taking place in the photo) and he was able to distinguish among the sentences given, which one was the correct sentence for that photo.
A year or so after that he was ready for the "high frequency" words that Kelly Harris suggests (one of the responders to this question). Putting these words on simple cards is a good idea also. After my son became familiar with these high frequency words we noticed that he was trying to "decode" other words by sounding them out. Only then did we begin to introduce phonics to him.
Finding something your child is passionate about helps too. My son loves sci-fi, robots, and technology and was able to learn the vocabulary from these books much faster than even some simple every day words. My son is 18 now and still looks for books about robots, or requests the latest edition of his favorite comic book on our weekly shopping trips.
These are all great ideas.... I hope you can find what works best for your daughter. Good luck!
Michele - posted on 06/11/2009
I am teaching my soon to be four year old son...who has been diagnosed with high functioning autism how to read. We use Hooked on Phonics and Explode the Code workbooks. We only work for 20-30 minutes a day and he loves it. We have alphabet flashcards which he loves to go through by himself and say the letter and the sound it makes. Dr.Suess's ABC book is a great book to read everyday also. Tyler loves the rhyming and it really helped cement that letters make sounds. Although Ty is obviously not reading yet...I think the ground work is being laid so it will be easier for him when he's ready. Don't be in a rush..let her work at her pace and make sure it is fun for her otherwise....it's an uphill battle. Good luck!
Beverley - posted on 10/15/2012
Michele, which program did you find worked better, Hooked on Phonics or Explode the Code? We are also in the process of teaching my 5 year old high functioning son to read, but it's been a battle. I want to try your suggestions but don't want to overwhelm him with too many programs. Sorry I know this is an older post, hoping to get some insight. :)
Here is one thing, Brenda, you may not have heard this but sometimes the sounds get ignored in words and that by itself takes away from reading and the meaning of the words used even in children's storybooks. There are a variety of ways to teach the differences so that they can be picked out better by a child who is apt to suffer from overstimulation in any environment (I work within an classroom with kids with autism, and they are fans of routine, and take information in whether or not they will re-demonstrate it right away.) Try this website as an example, there are others. This puts letter sounds into the form of a simple game. http://www.learnenglish.org.uk/kids/phon...
Sometimes it can be simply a confusion over the beginning or ending sound of a small word that makes the difference. Hope this helps!
Amy - posted on 06/12/2009
well my son is on the spectrum but it is mild and although i have not gotten to the part where he reads he is 3.... i purchased baby can read.....which he loves!!!!!! It keeps his attention and i think after awhile he will have no problem reading... you should check it out on there website..... hope this helps.
Sarah - posted on 06/11/2009
Repetition, repetition. Also, make sure everything you read has great meaning to her. If she wants to know what it says, she's more likely to engaged. Is she is school? her teacher should be able to help with ideas as well. Good luck!
Thea - posted on 06/11/2009
I have no specific experience with autistic children, but I have taught many children to read as a tutor, working with 1st-3rd graders, long before autism was recognized as a 'learning disability'. BE PATIENT! Every child learns at their own pace. Some read at age 2, some still struggle at age 18. I found that it helps if they are reading about something that interests them. Does your daughter like animals? princesses? Let her pick out the reading material.
My daughter had a few 'favorite' books that she wanted me to read to her all the time - so I made a recording of the books she liked best, and when it was time to turn the page, I 'jiggled' a little bell. She played her book tapes over and over, following along in the books and turning the pages when the bell rang... She could already read a few words when I started doing this, but by the time she was in kindergarten, she could read at a third grade level. This might help your daughter, or you might try it after she starts to catch on a little. My daughter liked this because she was free to 'read' her books on her own schedule. In general, I have found that children sometimes take awhile before they 'get it' and it happens in it's own sweet time. Sometimes the more you try, the less they learn. However, the best thing is to be there at the 'ahah!' moment. It makes all the effort worth it.
My kids are through college now - all grown up now. I taught them to read words by sounding out the letters - and combinations of letters. I think we are expecting a lot of children to expect them to recognize a whole word and know how to pronounce it before we teach them the parts of the words. You can make a 'flash card game' of this by teaching letters that sound like animal noises or bird calls.
Kelly - posted on 06/11/2009
Hi, i work in a primary school with an autistic child.
We use word boxes, with high freguency words in them and go through the box everyday. They then become very familiar with the words and store them in their vocab.
Start with a few, maybe mum, dad, he,she, the ect..
You can google a list of all of the high frequency words but also have a look through a biff and chip book, to pick out the resused and repeated words.
Also try books with very minimum words in, as autistic children tend to pick up a word but not the meaning of it, so a word per page but fully discuss the picture, the colours.
I find this helps their understanding. i hope i have helped you a little x
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