issues teaching my asd child to read

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issues teaching my asd child to read

Postby Seth » Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:30 am

We are the very proud parents of a wonderful 8yo red head with asd.
He was given his official diagnoses of High Functioning Autism at the age of six. With the help of Autism S.A we have managed to have the school provide one on one time with a special needs teacher to assist with his education, within his first twelve months of school. Note that we are in a remote location so a lot of services are not always available. Autism SA has only been able to visit us once during this time.
He is now doing year three and about six months ago I started getting concerned that he was still not able to read. We were told that he will pick it up eventually. We feel that this is not good enough, he has memorized all the school library reading books for his level. I work away from home often and after school holidays i was home and had the opportunity to listen to him read. My son actually went backwards with his reading skills. It mortified me that he has accomplished so little in his reading and writing skill set. As parents we all want to give our child the best opportunities in life and that begins with a proper education.
We have been negligent at times failing to help with his homework but I stipulate at times. At the present moment we are not doing any English homework as it is obviously not working and there is no point in flogging a dead horse. This has obviously been postponed until we can figure out some other angles to approach the matter.
We have joined this forum seeking help as i feel that the local school which averages 4 children per teacher is obviously not doing something correctly.
Having many discussions with the faculty to try and remedy this has left a bitter taste in our mouth and we judge it fair to say having no success what so ever in teaching our son to read. It speaks volumes when you try to teach a child to read and he cant even recite his ABCs or tell the difference between a letter and the sound that letter makes, we are having much difficulty even getting him to understand the concept and what we mean. My partner has taken him to have his hearing checked (just to rule out that he is not miss hearing sounds), and tested fine - no problems there. My partner has been doing a lot of reading on the subject and is starting to believe that learning in a repetitious format might just be the problem. We mention this merely so we can give a rough idea what we are up against to anyone that can offer suggestions in aiding us to accomplish our short term goal. If anyone out there has ideas or has been down the same or similar path we would love your input as any advice, services or techniques will be better than where he is now.

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Re: issues teaching my asd child to read

Postby Winnie » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:51 pm

Hi Seth,

I can understand your concern, because I don't think he will just "pick it up eventually" without specialized instruction.

It sounds as if your son may be memorizing sight words as units instead of using a phonemic-based decoding method. My son was keen on memorizing sight words when he was young but later learned how to blend sounds and decode using a phonics-based approach. Our kids are often really good at memorizing words, labels, etc.

Is he unable to make sound/symbol associations? Like if you show him 3 printed letters (one an "s"), and ask which makes the "ssssss" sound (the sound an "s" makes NOT the letter name), will he identify the printed "s?"

One other question -- and this is important. What info or testing do you have regarding his language comprehension? Is he able to answer questions about a story he reads so that his comprehension can be checked? Sometimes a child might be able to show comprehension for more concrete labels like "black dog," but isn't able to understand what happened in a story (like why the black dog was sad), even when they can "read" every single word in a story by sight.

The reason I ask is -- language and reading are intertwined. Print is just the written code for language, so a child's reading (comprehension) level will not exceed their language comprehension level. I'm wondering if he needs a lot of support via language instruction and therapy (language is different from speech production), as well as help with sound/symbol association and phonemic awareness.

You mentioned having his hearing tested -- this was probably a test of hearing acuity, but there are other auditory processes at the level of the brain that can contribute to difficulties in these areas. You can google Central Auditory Processing Disorder -- you might be interested in some of the info, though there really isn't any clear evidence-based treatment for CAPD.
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