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Teaching Autistic Children Reading Doesn’t Have To Be Hard


By Rachel Evans

There is no doubt about it. Teaching autistic children reading can be a task that tests the patience of anyone who tries. However, the same can be said of teaching any other child to read too. Some children with autism may never learn to read, and others will be just as good at it as their non-autistic peers.

However, teaching reading doesn’t have to be all hard work. When teaching autistic children, there are some things to keep in mind. These children often have problems with attention span and are not always motivated to learn to read like other children. Autistic children also have more problems when learning the rules of reading, and figuring out how words and sounds work.

Anyone who teaches knows you have to keep learning fun to keep the child engaged. However, when you are teaching autistic children to read, you have to be prepared to bring more to the table so you can reach them on a level that they understand and that is fun and interesting for them. This means that incorporating music, rhythm, and visuals into the lesson may be necessary.

This can be a great motivation for them if they are stimulated by these factors as it helps to hold their attention and will give them a reason to learn. This also helps with attention span, which is one of the biggest problems when autistic children learn to read.

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When teaching reading to autistic children, one important thing to remember is to keep the subject matter real. This means that the reading materials should be based on day to day activities that are very real to them. If you don’t do this, they may not be able to grasp what they are reading, which can turn them off to learning. Autistic children can struggle to understand fantasy stories as they are not based in reality, which means books and stories about dragons or talking animals may not appeal to them. Instead, focus on books that include activities they can relate to, like a trip to the zoo or shopping.

Continue reading for tips on teaching visual thinkers and sign up for the free Autism newsletter below.

One important thing to think about when teaching autistic children to read is that they tend to think better on a visual level. What that means is that a teacher or parent must come up with visual clues and prompts that will be easily understood by the child. When it comes to children of all types, they all have a certain interest, and autistic children are no exception to this rule. If they love something like cars or birds, for example, having reading material based around those items is a great way to expand the amount of time they will pay attention, and should make it easier for them to learn.

Although you may find some people who are defeatist about teaching autistic children reading, saying it can’t be done bear in mind that children are surprising in many cases. However, autistic children may take longer simply due to the issues they face. There are many great computer based programs that are made just for this purpose, and they can be a great tool for teaching an autistic child to read.


About the author - Rachel Evans. For information and to signup for a Free Newsletter about Autism please visit The Essential Guide to Autism