ERIC Number: EJ1051819
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Reference Count: 31
Engaging Children with Autism in Shared Book Reading: Strategies for Parents
Fleury, Veronica P.
Young Exceptional Children, v18 n1 p3-16 Mar 2015
The presence of a developmental disability has been associated with failures in learning to read (Landgren, Kjellman, & Gillberg, 2003). Given that children with disabilities are at higher risk for reading difficulties, it is especially important that they receive repeated opportunities to develop emergent skills--particularly oral language, phonological awareness, and concepts about print--that can support later reading achievement (National Early Literacy Panel, 2008). A common early literacy practice valued by early childhood professionals and parents is reading aloud with children. Reading aloud to children continues to be widely recommended to promote language and other skills related to early literacy development. The importance of reading with children at early ages is clearly understood. Yet, for the parents of many children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), reading with their children can be difficult and frustrating, because their children may lack the motivation and/or the skills that are necessary to participate in shared reading activities. In spite of good intentions, parents may be reluctant to read with their children if they have difficulty attending or become aggressive during book readings. All children, especially those who are at risk for reading difficulties, such as children with ASD, require high-quality, frequent opportunities to interact with written and oral language to foster their early and later achievements in language and literacy (Ezell & Justice, 2005). However, merely providing literacy opportunities may not be enough to improve reading outcomes for children with ASD. If children with ASD are to benefit from literacy opportunities, parents must first be able to address any challenging behaviors that may interfere with their child's engagement in the book reading activity. Ample evidence exists to suggest that the best ways of handling challenging behavior are indirect. In other words, it is best to have supports in place that prevent challenging behaviors from occurring rather than relying solely on reactive strategies that take place once the behavior occurs (Dunlap, Strain, & Ostryn, 2010). This article contains suggestions that parents and caregivers can use to encourage their children to participate in book reading. These strategies can help parents indirectly address challenging behaviors that can occur during book reading by (1) creating an appropriate reading environment and routine, (b) improving compliance during reading, (c) teaching appropriate book reading behavior, and (d) encouraging children's active participation in shared reading.
Descriptors: Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Reading Aloud to Others, Child Behavior, Participation, Compliance (Psychology), Emergent Literacy, Children, Reading Strategies
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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