For all students, learning to read involves a complex set of skills that must be acquired in stages. The ability to recognize letters and using them to form words (decoding) must become fluid before students are able to read for meaning. Children with autism may require more review and practice to move beyond decoding. Computer programs are an excellent way to enhance implicit memory and when choosing a reading program Autism Spectrum Disorder should be taken into account. People with autism generally have good implicit memory skills and can become proficient at decoding words. Difficulty with explicit or episodic memory can make “reading for meaning” more challenging. Luckily, research-based reading programs for special education are available to assist in this area.
Here are five strategies that if used in conjunction with an evidence-based reading program, autism related reading challenges may be reduced.
Five ways to improve recall and learning among students with autism:
Teach by small steps and practice each step frequently until the knowledge becomes automatic. Online reading programs for special education can afford the opportunity for students to practice as required and move to the next step when they feel ready. They will also provide a record of the child’s advancement, whether used in a classroom setting or independently.
Use Visual Cues
People with ASD are more prone to be visual learners and will retain more meaning from written information when it is paired with striking visual imagery. Try using bright colors and pictures to provide visual cues to learning.
What kid doesn’t like to play games online? Software reading programs for special education can stimulate interest and give students practice with newly learned abilities while having fun - bonus!
It can be difficult for anyone to remember facts or concepts that have no connection to our lives. Developers of research-based reading programs for special education have found that presenting new information in a narrative form can stimulate emotions and provide a connection to the lives of children with autism.
Document with Photos
Children with autism often need support with tasks involving episodic memory. Using a camera to document learning can help develop recall skills and give students a sense of continuity in their education. Kids can take selfies when they’ve completed a lesson or could use photos to help them remember steps in more complex tasks. They could caption these procedural photos and make a story about how they learn, incorporating visual and episodic recall skills. Online reading programs utilize photos to help convey and reinforce concepts.
By using a reading program, autism challenges may become less of an obstacle to success. For more information about pairing children with autism and appropriate learning programs please visit Essential Skills.