Predicting optimal literacy outcomes for autistic children

Learning to read and write is a pivotal skill in an increasingly literate world for all children. Although reading is not considered a core impairment associated with autism, previous research into reading performance of autistic children has shown significant difficulties in this population. Very little research focus has been placed on identifying predictors of literacy outcomes in autistic children and this research aims to fill the gap in our current knowledge.

This project builds on the Autism CRC emergent literacy project that delivers on:

(a) The development of an assessment battery for emergent literacy suitable for young autistic children

(b) The development of a professional development module that outlines the importance of emergent literacy development in autistic children

(c) A checklist for early childhood professionals to help identify children at risk of developing literacy difficulties

(d) A checklist for teachers involved in the foundation year of primary school education to identify children at school-entry who may be at risk of difficulties in acquiring and/or developing literacy during their first year at school

The longitudinal study will identify if there is a typical reading profile associated with autism and will also confirm predictions based on the emergent literacy project that children go through a big change in educational experience with the start of school. The focus of this project is on the following key outcomes:

(a) Validation of an assessment/screening battery suitable for young autistic children that may be used by speech pathologists and early childhood professionals to identify children at risk for literacy difficulties prior to school-entry

(b) Strategies for early childhood professionals to provide early/preventative intervention to those pre-schoolers considered at risk for future literacy difficulties
Project Leader(s)
  • Marleen Westerveld, Griffith University
Research Program

School Years - Program 2