10-Week Reading Intervention Improves Reading in Children with Autism

Teacher with young students

Children with autism face unique challenges, but a recent study found one area that can make a positive impact on school age autistic kids. Ten weeks of intensive reading intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder was enough to strengthen the activity of loosely connected areas of their brains that work together to comprehend reading, according to research reported by Science Daily.

The research goes on to report that children with autism are relatively better at visual and spatial processing. The intervention facilitates the use of such strengths to ultimately improve language comprehension. The study is the first of its kind to perform reading intervention with autistic children using brain-imaging techniques. The findings reflect the plasticity of the brain.

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have decreased connectivity between certain areas of the brain’s reading network when compared to typically developing children. Those who received the ten-week reading intervention improved their reading comprehension by modulating their brain function. After intervention, the ASD children’s brain processing looked richer, with visual and motor coding that is reflected by more active visual activity and involvement of the motor areas.

Medical Xpress reports that a study conducted by Michael Solis, an assistant professor of special education at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education, finds that embedding the perseverative interest of a child with ASD into reading used during instruction may increase the child's reading comprehension. Solis was surprised to learn that in 30 years, only 12 studies have been conducted on improving reading comprehension in children with ASD, and many of those lacked a high level of scholarly rigor.

Children with autism in the classroom

The prevalence of autism in children in the United States’ increased by 119.4% from the year 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68), according to the Center for Disease Control. The current standard for teaching reading comprehension to children with ASD is to rely upon strategies designed for children with a wide variety of disabilities.

Solis, an expert in reading interventions for a variety of populations with special needs, said a 2013 study showed those strategies resulted in the growth in reading skills over time for students in various disability categories, but were not as effective for children with ASD. If you’re a teacher interested in the field of reading and autism spectrum disorder, Spring Arbor University Online offers two online master's degree programs:

Why Spring Arbor University Online for your graduate teaching degree

We believe that teaching is more than a profession; it’s a special calling. You deserve a university experience that matches your commitment to your students. Spring Arbor University Online graduates appreciate the learning opportunities we offer and our commitment to taking a personal interest in their lives.

As a valued online student, you will enjoy a renewed sense of purpose and faith as you dive deep into the theories and concepts of your curriculum. You’ll learn how to adapt your teaching style to best guide students from a variety of backgrounds, and you’ll learn about new methods and how to use them to better engage your students.