Children with special needs face many literary challenges in the field of education. While some can’t comprehend what they’re reading, others lack the ability to visualize or recollect. Reading programs for special education can go a long way in assisting autistic students in the classroom. These practices can help students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) strengthen their reading skills.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Is Autism Spectrum Disorder a Learning Disability?
Autism spectrum disorder can affect learning, but it isn’t a learning disability. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects language skills, both speaking and listening.
Children with ASD may share some common symptoms, but these can range from mild to severe. While some autistic students may have speech delays, some don’t. According to research, about 1 in 100 children has autism.
For instance, take children with Asperger’s syndrome. They may show a lot of sensitivity to touch and other sensory information. This condition is on the milder end of the spectrum. It can range from obsessing over certain topics to missing out on social cues.
Reading & Comprehension Skills for Autistic Students
Children generally begin reading through phonetics. This structure gets them familiar with the alphabet and instills sight-reading. But comprehending such text is a complex activity for children with ASD. While they may decode language, they still struggle with comprehension.
Their neurodevelopmental disorder makes it difficult to visualize text and process figures. For this reason, students with ASD generally struggle with abstract literature. Some even find it hard to understand the author’s intent in a story, poem, or fable.
To facilitate an effective learning experience, here are a few things you can try out.
Introduce reading at an early stage
It’s important to make a child with ASD familiar with books and how they work. This helps them get familiar with the print, color, and size of the books. Many students with ASD rely on routine and repetition. In this case, don’t hesitate to read the same story time and again.
Another good strategy to include in reading programs for special education is to give students relevant information about the story. Whether you’re sharing personal experiences or some facts, always be direct. Acting out parts of the story using hand gestures and other visual cues is also effective.
Create an interactive reading list
A student with autism can learn more from an interactive book versus plain text. Books that feature texture allow children to comprehend sensory information. Pop-up books boost comprehension and attention skills, keeping your child focused.
By adding visual cues to the learning experience, you make reading simpler to process. Using hand puppets to act out a story is also a great way to build speaking skills and boost imagination. Assigning information also helps students with autism understand sentence construction.
Set reading goals and create a structure
Students with ASD thrive on consistency and repetition. They need specialized reading programs for special education built solely on their needs. Setting daily, weekly, and monthly reading goals is a good way to improve reading skills, page by page.
Creating a schedule allows students with ASD to process and recollect information faster. Make sure you also get books about topics the student has an interest in. You can also incorporate their hobbies into the reading process for a productive experience.
Leverage tech-enabled tools
Generally, students with ASD showcase a preference for tech-enabled devices. From text-to-speech devices to language-learning apps, there are many applications to choose from. You can also create a regular schedule or a reward program using assisted tech.
For special needs children, augmentative and alternative communication are excellent resources. This form of assistive technology can benefit people of all ages on the spectrum. It boosts visual aid, cognitive learning, and reading skills.
From a visual calendar to a sign-language app, there are many assistive technologies. For instance, educators can use a typing program designed for autistic students, that helps overcome many learning difficulties.
You can also use educational programs to record and reward student achievements. For instance, you can use an app-enabled CommBoard for special needs children. The program says the word associated with a picture to enhance pronunciation and speech.
Embrace the digital platform
Explicit teaching helps you break down reading material into manageable chunks. A reading program for special education students is a great way to achieve this. Some of the most effective reading programs accommodate the student’s needs first. Such curriculums are tailor-made for students with ASD, from elementary up to high school.
Special education tutoring offers many advantages over standard education programs:
- It helps special needs students build focus and attention.
- It allows students to maintain a steady pace with the class.
- It ensures students find qualified tutors as per their needs.
- It helps them improve their phonics, fluency, and speech.
- It gives students access to a library of audiobooks.
- It uses both visual and auditory applications.
- It helps students master vital reading skills.
But there are very few reading programs for special education high school students. If you’re a teacher working with ASD students, get in touch with us. Our comprehensive reading programs are tailor-made for special needs students of all age groups.
Reading Programs for Special Autistic Students Education
We work with expert curriculum designers who specialize in special needs education. Our special education reading programs aim to improve speech, fluency, language, and comprehension. Our research-based reading programs for special education are time-tested, proven strategies.
Are you looking for instructional materials for students with autism? We can help you customize a learning experience that’s specific to students with ASD. For more information about our products, visit our website.
To learn more about research-based reading programs for special education, today!