The home literacy environment of preschool-aged children with autism or Down Syndrome

Published December 2017


Aims: This exploratory study investigated if there were differences in the home literacy environment of preschool children on the autism spectrum and preschool children with Down syndrome to determine if the home literacy environment may potentially be associated with strengths or weaknesses in children’s social communication skills. Methods: A total of 111 parents of preschoolers with identified disabilities completed a home literacy questionnaire. Results: Results indicated that both groups of parents started reading to their children at an early age and owned at least 25 children’s books. However, parents of children with Down syndrome read to their child more often, reported higher child interest in reading, and more frequently played rhyming games with their child. No group differences were found in teaching of letter names, although parents of children with autism reported a higher frequency of pointing out signs/words in the environment and reported their children knew more letter names. Group differences were also found in the relationship between parent behaviours, child interest, and children’s print-related skills. Conclusion: This study highlights the influence both parent behaviours and child interest may have on shared book reading practices of parents with their preschool children with disabilities.
Westerveld, M.F., & van Bysterveldt, A.K. (2017). The home literacy environment of a preschool-aged children with autism or Down Syndrome, Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, 69, 43–53 . doi: 10.1159/000475840.

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