These comprehensive guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicate that early diagnosis, treating common comorbidities, and involving the family in collaborative interventions are key in supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disrder (ASD). ASD diagnoses occur in 1 in 59 children, or 1.7%, according to the newest data. The report recommends that clinicians should screen children for ASD at 18 and 24 months and evaluate general development at 9, 18, and 30 months. Different options for research-based Interventions for children with ASD provided through educational practices, developmental therapies, and behavioral interventions are discussed.
Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Susan L. Hyman, Susan E. Levy, and Councill on Children with Disabilities, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. PediatricsJanuary 2020, 145 (1) e20193447; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-3447.
Assessment of Sesame Street online autism resources: Impacts on parental implicit and explicit attitudes toward children with autism
Dickter, C.L., Burke, J.A., Gutermuth Anthony. L., et al. Assessment of Sesame Street online autism resources: Impacts on parental implicit and explicit attitudes toward children with autism (August 2020). Autism. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361320949346
This study looked at implicit bias toward children with autism and examined whether viewing educational materials about autism would change attitudes toward children with autism. A website developed by Sesame Street containing information about autism and resources for families was distributed to parents of children with autism and parents of children without autism. Results indicated that parents of children with autism showed less implicit bias compared with those of non-autistic children during the pre-test, but the groups did not differ at the post-test. Parents without autistic children and those with more negative explicit attitudes showed a greater reduction in implicit bias from the pre- to the post-test. In addition, for parents of children with autism, a more positive change in explicit attitudes and increased knowledge from the pre- to the post-test was associated with more empowerment at the post-test. The findings suggest that the online educational resources can reduce implicit bias against children with autism and help mitigate some of the psychological issues associated with parenting children with autism.
Adapted Shared Storybook Reading
This study investigated the use of an adapted shared reading protocol with three children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in home settings. In addition, this study was to investigate whether individual components of the intervention package contributed to its overall effectiveness. Finally, the extent to which the participating children generalized their ability to engage in adapted shared reading with the researcher to shared reading with their parents was explored. The results of the investigation indicate that the children with ASD demonstrated improvements in engagement in shared reading and these improvements generalized to shared reading with the children’s parents.
From word reading to multisentence comprehension: Improvements in brain activity in children with autism after reading intervention
Murdaugh, D. L., Deshpande, H. D., & Kana, R. K. (2017). From word reading to multisentence comprehension: Improvements in brain activity in children with autism after reading intervention. Neuroimage, 16, 303-312. doi:10.1002/aur.1503
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) show a unique reading profile characterized by decoding abilities equivalent to verbal abilities, but with lower comprehension skills. The purpose of this study was to assess brain changes associated with an intense reading intervention program in children with ASD using three reading tasks: word, sentence, and multisentence processing, each with differential demands of reading comprehension. Our results provide evidence for differential recruitment of brain regions based on task demands, and support the potential of targeted interventions to alter brain activation in response to positive gains in treatment. Children with ASD have a different reading profile from other reading disorders that needs to be specifically targeted in interventions.
Increasing Comprehension of Expository Science Text for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder
This study evaluated the effects of a text structure intervention package on the ability of students with autism to comprehend traditional science texts. Three high school students with high-functioning autism and their teacher participated in this study. The intervention package included instruction in types of text structures using a text structure organization sheet before reading, and completing an analysis and summary sheet during and after reading. Results indicated that the instruction was highly effective during intervention and maintenance phase for all three participants. The first-year special education teacher was able to implement the intervention with fidelity. All participants agreed that the intervention was helpful for reading science texts. Future research and implications for classroom intervention is discussed.
Changes in intrinsic connectivity of the brain's reading network following intervention in children with autism
Murdaugh, D. L., Maximo, J.O., & Kana, R.K. (2015). Changes in intrinsic connectivity of the brain’s reading network following intervention in children with autism. Human Brain Mapping, 36, 2965-2979. doi:10.1002/hbm.22821
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, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have found. At the same time, the reading comprehension of those 13 children, whose average age was 10.9 years, also improved.
Writing Instruction for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Historically, learners with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have not had access to the general education curriculum. Current legislation mandates that all children, including children with ASD, have access to and make progress in the general education curriculum. This article contains a review of the literature on writing instruction for children with ASD. Investigation yielded 15 studies with 29 participants with ASD ages 4 to 21 years. Based on the studies reviewed, we concluded that students with ASD benefit from explicit writing instruction, but more research is needed to establish an evidence-based set of practices to guide educators in the development of effective writing programs for this population of students. Strategies that are particularly promising and suggestions for future research are given.
Clinical Discourse and Engagement during Shared Storybook Reading in Preschool Groups
Sylvia Diehl and Bobbie Vaughan. Clinical Discourse and Engagement during Shared Storybook Reading in Preschool Groups. Seminars in Speech and Language, 2010 May, 31(2):111-21. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1252112.
This study investigated the impact of discourse on engagement in shared storybook reading in children who are language impaired and hard to engage. Although active participation in shared storybook reading in children who are typically developing is well defined, research has shown that the engagement of children with language disorders differ as a result of adult reading styles. To investigate the influence of reading style on children who were hard to engage, four shared storybook-reading sessions were analyzed. Within the highly engaged sessions studied, several discourse features were identified that were supportive of the engagement of children with language impairment who were difficult to engage. These features were a balance of requests and responses between clinician and child, use of various scaffolding measures, and a focus on content through the use of pausing, inflection, and volume. The discourse patterns identified were additional to the strategies associated with dialogic book-reading literature focused on active participation.
Evidence-Based Reading Instruction for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Kelly J. Whalon, Stephanie Al Otaiba, Monica E. Delano. Evidence-Based Reading Instruction for Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, Vol 24, Issue 1, pp. 3-16, December 22, 2008.
Legislation mandates that all children, including children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), be taught to read in ways that are consistent with reading research and target the five components of evidence-based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension strategies. This review synthesized the literature on reading instruction for children with ASD that encompassed one or more of the five components of reading. The review included 11 studies with 61 participants ages 4 to 17 years. Results indicated that children with ASD can benefit from reading instruction consistent with reading research. Research in this area is still preliminary, and more research is needed to guide practice. Possible directions for future research are provided.
The Communication Journey of a Fully Included Child With an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Diehl, Sylvia F.; Ford, Carolyn S.; and Federico, Jeanne. The Communication Journey of a Fully Included Child With an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Topics in Language Disorders: October/December 2005, Volume 25, Issue 4, p 375–387.
This article follows José, a child with autism spectrum disorder, through his communication journey from age 3 to age 11. His journey illustrates many of the characteristics and challenges of individuals with autism spectrum disorders, as they become a part of the literate community in the general education classroom. Collaborative, family-based teaming strategies that supported José's language and literacy learning from kindergarten through fourth grade are described. The article credits early, intensive intervention based on the family's concerns and goals for meaningful outcomes and communicative competence across learning contexts and communicative partners. Speech-language pathologists' roles as advocates for all students to have access to the social and literate community are also highlighted.
The SLP's Role in Collaborative Assessment and Intervention for Children with ASD
National trends indicate an increasing number of children identified with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The diagnostic criteria for autistic disorder include deficits in social interaction and communication. The communication support required by children with ASD is varied and complex, requiring collaboration from many disciplines. This article focuses on the speech language pathologist's (SLP) role as a member of a collaborative team in identifying patterns of strengths and challenges in communication in children with autism and in providing social, behavioral, and communication supports. It presents two case studies of boys (ages 10-12) with autism.
Reading Comprehension Instruction for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders
The authors reviewed studies on teaching reading comprehension to students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) with a focus on text (academic reading) comprehension and sight word (functional) comprehension. Eleven of 754 studies met the inclusion criteria: participants with ASD, published in English in a peer-reviewed journal, and use of an experimental design. Participants, setting, academic or functional reading comprehension, and instructional methods across studies were summarized and examined. Instructional methods employed were compared to those identified by the National Reading Panel as effective for students without disabilities. Suggestions for future research and practice are discussed.