Discover nine ways to support literacy in autistic children

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We are all aware that Autism is on a spectrum. By the very nature of this, it means that every child will present differently, so an individualised approach is required. We need to remember to use a child’s strengths to support their needs. By using a person-centred approach, you’ll see your child’s literacy develop and thrive.

I hear many parents concerns about literacy as well as communication. Will they be able to read, write and spell? How will they manage their literacy independently? The questions are endless, so let’s look at how you can support your child’s literacy skills and how together we can provide a scaffold to them becoming independent learners.

  1. The one thing we know is that Autistic children are visual learners. They succeed by us sharing pictures and demonstrating how the narrative is shown.
  2. Start reading to your child at an early age. You can never start too early. This creates a love for books and supports vital pre-literacy skills (such as increasing vocabulary, following narratives, awareness of sounds in words, and letter recognition and awareness). By supporting pre-literacy skills, you’re starting the process to create confident young readers.
  3. There are many ways to use books. You can narrate the story using different voices and tones to increase interest. You can do this even if your child isn’t interested. They are still listening and learning vital skills. You may even ask and answer questions and voice the skills that they will need for internal monitoring.
  4. Use their interests to select appropriate reading material. In addition, you can then create questions on the book and provide a scaffold to support your child with the answer.
  5. Use technology to spark their interest in reading. Demonstrate how they can read online. This is often successful as it becomes an individual activity as opposed to needing social interaction.
  6. Provide them with a choice of texts (e.g., would you like ‘Perfectly Norman or when things get too loud’) rather than an open-ended question such as ‘What book would you like to read?’
  7. Write key pieces of information down on paper. Research suggests that Autistic learners understand written text better than speech.
  8. You could have a ‘word of the day’ from chosen reading material that you explore together.
  9. Reading aloud to your child can have many benefits which include understanding vocabulary to how the book is read, with appropriate intonation.

I highly recommend the boom decks as they are a great resource!

The ethos at London Speech and Feeding:

“If they can’t learn in the way we teach, then we teach the way they learn”

If you need speech, language or communication support or advice, I am always here to help.

Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.


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