#WAAW World Autism Acceptance Week 2024 ‘Study links reading comprehension challenges in autistic children to specific early and pre-reading skill gaps’

Many children with autism struggle with reading comprehension abilities throughout their school years.

In language development, narrative skills are a pre-reading skill, such as retelling the events of a story in order and understanding how the parts of a story work together. Inference skills develop early in reading and include the ability to link the ideas in two sentences together.

For children with autism, challenges with these two early skills were linked strongly with reading comprehension challenges as they got older. (Grimm, McIntrye and Mundy, 2020)

The Reading Framework Report published by the Department of Education in July 2023 emphasises the value of reading comprehension in supporting SEN pupils. Their suggestions for mainstream classroom teaching adaptions include group or peer reading, utilising audio, visual aids such as picture books, graphic organisers, flow charts and diagrams; multi-sensory stimulation of several senses to help convey meaning and dedicating enough time for reading for pleasure at school and at home.

Tips and ideas to support children with autism who are non-verbal: Teaching children with nonverbal autism to read | Autism Speaks