Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit developmental difficulties as infants, particularly in their…
Kids with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may face a variety of difficulties, particularly when it comes to learning. However, the difficulty is frequently not in the learning itself, but in the manner in which it occurs – the learning process. Makes reading fun and routine activity during the childhood it is especially important for teaching children with autism how to read.
Autism and the challenges of reading
It is common for children with autism to struggle with traditional learning methods. This is due to the fact that their brain process information differently than neurotically children’s brain. Some children with ASD can pay attention for a short period of time when listening to a story or learning to read on their own. On the other hand, they may begin reading at a young age and show a strong interest in certain subjects, wanting to learn everything they can about the subject.
These children are also frequently visual thinkers, which mean they think in terms of images rather than words. Other autistic children learn more effectively through sound or even tactile stimuli. Autism can also make it difficult to learn and remember sequences, such as long phrases, numbers, or multi-step instructions. This can make it difficult to understand texts.
Regardless of the child’s characteristics, different techniques can be used to help them learn more efficiently. Simple multi sensory stimuli, step-by-step instruction, and making connections with the child’s daily activities all contribute to actively involving the child in the learning process and thus developing reading skills.
Tips for Teaching Autistic Children to Read
Here are six tips to help children with autism develop their literacy and reading skills:
1 – Include reading in their daily routine.
ASD children typically require a daily routine to ensure predictability in their lives. It is important for them to know what will happen, what their daily activities will be, and especially if there will be something different – they like it to be structured. This anticipation of events help the autistic child feel safe because it allows them to understand their goals and what other people expect from them at any given point of time.
Reading about everyday activities can help the child interpret the text and connect it to their lives. If your child enjoys routine in their day, reading can help them understand better every moment and transition from one task to the another.
2 – Present topics of interest to the child.
Autistic children frequently exhibit so-called restricted interest, which means they are obsessed with a single subject. They enjoy reading, learning more, and talking about it, eventually becoming experts. The restricted interest can be for a subject (such as dinosaurs), an action (such as aligning objects), an object (such as a favourite toy), or even a broader topic (like maths).
3 – Look for elements that they can relate to.
Some autistic children struggle with new situations and the unknown. This is why it’s critical to look for stories that they can relate to and even better, identify with. It’s great when books feature characters their age and show family members, places they’ve already visited, or activities they enjoy.
4 – Teach one new concept at a time
Children with ASD find it easier to learn a concept when it begins with simple steps and gradually increases in complexity in a logical order, whether at school or at home.
The activity or reading time should also be gradually adjusted. In the beginning, try reading for a few minutes at a time. When your child’s attention span improves, gradually increase their reading time.
5 – Stimulate different senses
Each person learns in a unique way, and children with autism are no exception. As a result, it is critical to seek out multi sensory stimuli, as the child may learn better through sight, sound, or even touch.
Children who learn visually prefer to see what they are reading or learning, so the images in the book must correspond to what is written in it. As a result, associations between text and visual resources are formed, promoting language development.
6 – Autism-related protagonism in reading
If reading helps any child develop, Nurturers believe that personalised books have even more potential for children with ASD. In a separate article, we speak with experts about the possibility of personalization for small children with autism.