Can anyone give me some hints on how to help my 5 yr old son with autism want to learn to read?

Rebbecca - posted on 12/19/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )




My 5 yr old has Aspergers.His IQ is 100 and is apparently to high for special education and I need to find out how to get him to learn to read its required for him to get into kindergarten...Ive tried everything I can think of all that happens is he gets frustrated and angry or starts crying.


User - posted on 12/20/2010




Hi Rebecca,

It is REQUIRED to get INTO kindergarten??? This is beyond ridiculous.

I teach kindergarten in Ontario, Canada. My job is to teach children HOW to read, and HOW to enjoy reading...

At what level are they expected to be reading before joining kindergarten? MOST children are only reading pattern stories by THE END of kindergarten...So, this would be a book with a story like this: Here is a red balloon, said the clown. Here is a yellow balloon, said the clown. (change the colour of the balloon and you get the idea)

So, letter identification and "sounding out" is important, but also emphasize sight words (top ones would be: I, a, the, see, look, like, the, is, was, am, etc). This is where flash cards come in place...but first, just have him "match" them, like a memory game. Every time he matches one, say the word (but no big stress, just OH, you found the word is! Good for you...I wonder what mommy can find...oh, here is the word me and, oh no this word is like...your turn!"

Look up Dolche words...the first 50 are a good place to start. Create books with your child as the focus

So, the I am book would be something like this

I am a boy. (picture of himself)
I am five. (big number 5)
I am funny. (silly picture of son)
I am nice. (giving a hug)

So, create your own pattern books....this can be more engaging AND creative for your child.

There is also the Olewin reading method (I am at home and don't know if I have the spelling right). It was designed for individuals with Down Syndrome, however, it has a high success rate with children on the spectrum. It is a matching method, and very easy to create at home.

A 100 IQ is within the middle "typical" range. (typical IQ being from 90-110)...but, children on the spectrum can benefit from special education in terms of social skills, time mangement, self-regulation, movement breaks, etc....if you have a diagnosis, you should be able to get an IEP in place.

If you are in the States, or Canada, you cannot be denied entry into Kindergarten for not being able to read. If I am wrong about the US, please correct me because I am pretty sure the ACLU would have something to say about that!



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Diane - posted on 12/28/2010




Reading was one of my son's least favorite things to do. I read to him daily since he was an infant, and he loved to look at the pictures and listen to me read, but HATED to read himself (especially by 2nd and 3rd grade when they had to start tackling CHAPTER books.....perish the thought). I can't count how many times he threw himself to the ground in tears of frustration.....”but mom, it's a CHAPTER book. It's IMPOSSIBLE!!!”

We started with a timer, set for maybe 30 minutes to read, eventually increased to an hour, and have always had a comfy reading nook with an overstuffed chair fit for two, an ottoman to rest our feet, and a basket of warm blankets to snuggle. I read the left page of a book, and he reads the right, both out loud. It has been very effective, especially early on, because he learned from my example, voice inflections, pronunciations, etc., and when he came across a word he had previously struggled with, but heard how I read it, he would self-correct and learn. I don't correct his mistakes unless they are major, because it can cause more negative impact than positive, and only make him irritated. But his reading, vocabulary, and comprehension have dramatically improved over the years.

He read the entire series (at the time) of Magic Treehouse books in 1st and 2nd grade ( – As much as possible I tried to do at least the first several books in order – they are numbered, and they start really easy and gradually become more difficult). He also loved fractured fairy tales – any book that changed traditional fairy tales to make them funny really got his attention, and there are many that are made for older children that are entertaining.

I think the most important factor in his progress with reading is that I only had him read books I knew he would love. I can only remember one time that we got a library book, and were into the third or fourth Chapter where it was so boring I suggested we switch to a different book. He readily agreed.

Then we started Harry Potter in grades 3rd, 4th and 5th. While the first couple of Harry Potter books are fairly easy to read, they do become much longer and more difficult with each subsequent book. I believe Harry Potty books greatly helped my son's reading ability, as well as interest. They also were very entertaining as we would laugh about differences from the movies, and whole side stories/plots that had not made it in the movies. We started the Fablehaven series in 5th grade and he just got the final book for Christmas and can't wait to read it. Books have become a joy. He reads the easier ones by himself (like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or Percy Jackson), and books with complex plots or more advanced vocabulary, we read together so that I can explain concepts and the tough words.

While our son, now a middle-schooler in 6th grade, does not choose books over computer games or television programs, he understands he is required to read at least 4-5 days a week, and his reward after reading is video game play or other preferred activity. Summer is no different, just because school is out. Actually, Summers have been ideal for Harry Potter and other popular novels, since the books run so long.

If anyone were to ask me about my son's reading in Kindergarten, I would have shared the same concerns. But know that things can just takes time, and finding books that “call out to him and are motivating and/or entertaining.

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We have lived in several states and they vary widely in what they want kids to know when entering kindergarten. I don't think it's unreasonable for a 5 year old of average intelligence to learn to read.

What is your son into? If you build your studies around something he likes, he is more likely to be interested in picking it up. If he's into cars, use his toy cars to make the letter shapes, then their corresponding sounds. Let him paint letters with water on the sidewalk or in shaving cream on the coffee table. If he's into video games, get him a system that teaches reading. There's no rule that you have to use old fashioned flash cards, phonics, or sight reading if they aren't working.

Dayna - posted on 12/27/2010




No 5 yo should be required to learn to read. Especially one with Aspergers. How about reading the book "Better Late than Early" by Raymond S. Moore, to balance out your viewpoint......

Staycee - posted on 12/25/2010




Make it a game or a song so it is fun to do and when he gets frustrated take a break. Also find his hero to help him read the book and try using the voice of the hero to make it fun.

Theresa - posted on 12/23/2010




I just read the Michigan laws on Spec Ed under the ASD guidelines. There is no mention of IQ at all. The IQ should not be a factor. It's all the other things that go along with ASD that would qualify him for Sepc Ed. Many ASD children are actually quite smart, they just can't processs the way a "normal" child can. I have and ASD son (PDD-NOS). he's on an IEP because of his sensory and social issues. He's plenty smart and is even in advanced classes. Recheck with your school. Him having an Aspergers diagnosis should make them automatically evaluate him.

Judi - posted on 12/22/2010




Double check with your local dsiability officer about the reading. In Sydney it is PREFERRED that children know how to hold a book but not read it, to recognise their name in print, hold a pencil. But reading is taught in Kindy

Katherine - posted on 12/19/2010




Have you tried making flashcards for him? Put the book up and make a game of it. Then when he knows his words, bring the book back down and try again.

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