Five children are sitting on school chairs and holding books in front of their faces. This image implies that the article is about Autism and Reading Tips to Help Your Child.

Tips to Help Your Child With Autism and Reading 

At Blue Parachute, we understand the importance of supporting those on the autism spectrum in their literacy journeys. If you are thinking about tips to help your child with autism and reading, you’ve come to the right place.

Reading can be a valuable skill for children on the autism spectrum, aiding in communication, comprehension, and cognitive development. In this guide, we’ll explore tips and strategies to help your loved one with autism thrive in their reading endeavors.

Does Autism Affect Reading Ability?

Autism can impact reading ability in various ways. Some children with autism may excel in reading, while others may face challenges.

Factors such as sensory sensitivities, difficulty with social cues, and language processing differences can affect a child’s reading skills. Identifying and addressing anything preventing reading success is essential. Use a teaching style tailored to support and meet your child’s needs to see the best success.

Do Kids With Autism Like to Read?

Like neurotypical children, reading preferences can vary among kids with autism. Some may be interested in reading and enjoy immersing themselves in books. Others may find it more challenging to engage with written material.

Understanding your child’s interests and preferences can help you select reading materials. You want to find those that capture their attention and spark their curiosity.

Does Autism Make It Difficult to Read?

For some children with autism, challenges such as sensory sensitivities, difficulty with social communication, and differences in language processing can make reading more difficult. These barriers may impact aspects of reading such as decoding, comprehension, and fluency. With appropriate support, children with autism can develop their reading skills and overcome these challenges.

What Is Hyperlexia in Autism?

Hyperlexia describes advanced reading abilities at an early age. This condition is commonly seen in children with autism. Though each person experiences it differently, hyperlexia can be accompanied by difficulties in other areas of language and communication.

Though hyperlexic children may demonstrate advanced reading skills, they may struggle with other related skills. These include comprehension, understanding, pragmatic language (day-to-day social skills), and social communication.

Remember to provide targeted intervention and support. This will help children with hyperlexia better understand what they’re reading. At the same time, it will improve their overall language development and communication skills.

Autism and Reading Comprehension

Some individuals on the autism spectrum may experience challenges with reading comprehension, including difficulties with understanding and interpreting written text. It’s essential to use strategies such as visual aids, simplified language, and explicit instruction to support reading comprehension.

Additionally, providing opportunities for discussion, asking questions, and connecting to real-life experiences can enhance comprehension skills.

High-Functioning Autism and Reading Difficulties

Children with high-functioning autism may encounter specific reading difficulties related to social communication, abstract language, and inferring meaning from context.

In addition to reading comprehension, these challenges can impact other aspects of reading. This can include inferencing and interpreting non-literal text. They can also involve understanding figurative language, such as someone saying, “I’m on fire,” when they are hot.

Provide clear instruction, scaffold learning, and use visual schedules and supports. These tools can address these difficulties and enhance comprehension and engagement.

Clear Instruction

Clear or explicit instruction is another teaching method. It involves clearly and directly presenting information, concepts, or skills to students. It leaves little room for guesswork and gives learners precise guidance on what they need to know or do.

This approach typically involves breaking down complex tasks or concepts into smaller, more manageable steps. The teacher then provides clear explanations, demonstrations, and examples.

Scaffold Learning

Scaffold learning is a teaching approach where educators provide temporary support to help students learn new concepts or skills. Gradually reduce support as students become more proficient. Doing this allows them to take on more responsibility for their learning.

For example, imagine a child learning to ride a bike with training wheels. The training wheels provide temporary support, allowing the child to practice balancing and riding without falling over. The training wheels are gradually raised or removed as the child gains confidence and skills. Before you know it, the child can ride independently.

Visual Schedules

Visual schedules are visual aids that provide a structured sequence of activities or tasks using pictures, symbols, or words. They help individuals with autism understand and anticipate daily routines, transitions, or activities, reducing anxiety and promoting independence.

To illustrate, we’ll describe creating a visual schedule for a morning routine.

The pictures used should represent various tasks. You should include each step, starting with waking up. Then add images like brushing teeth, eating breakfast, and getting dressed. Display each task in the order of completion.

This allows the child to follow along and better understand their routine. As the child completes each activity, they can remove or check off the corresponding visual to track their progress.

How to Teach an Autistic Child to Read

Use a multi-sensory approach when teaching a child with autism to read. It should cater to their unique strengths and preferences. Visual aids, hands-on activities, and interactive reading experiences can make learning more engaging and accessible.

Providing structured routines, clear expectations, and positive reinforcement can help build confidence and motivation in reading.

Get Reading With Blue Parachute Today!

Supporting your child on the autism spectrum in their reading journey requires patience, understanding, and tailored strategies. You can help your child thrive in their literacy skills by:

  • Identifying their unique strengths and challenges.
  • Providing appropriate support and being accommodating.
  • Fostering a love for reading. 

Remember, every person is different, and not everyone learns to read the same way. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, a teacher, or someone in the community who is doing the teaching. What’s important is to be flexible and adaptable to each person’s unique needs.

Contact us for subscription pricing on insightful videos available from Blue Parachute. These videos provide a form of autism home support services. Our videos were created by Licensed and Certified Behavior Therapists. They are each based on the principles of ABA therapy.

Let’s empower individuals with ASD to unlock the joys of reading.


Related Readings:

Blue Parachute – Who We Help

Blue Parachute – How We Help

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