Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 828–845

Characterization and Prediction of Early Reading Abilities in Children on the Autism Spectrum

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-013-1936-2

Cite this article as:
Davidson, M.M. & Ellis Weismer, S. J Autism Dev Disord (2014) 44: 828. doi:10.1007/s10803-013-1936-2


Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have reading profiles characterized by higher decoding skills and lower reading comprehension. This study assessed whether this profile was apparent in young children with ASD and examined concurrent and longitudinal predictors of early reading. A discrepant profile of reading (higher alphabet and lower meaning) was found in 62 % of this sample. Concurrent analyses revealed that reading proficiency was associated with higher nonverbal cognition and expressive language, and that social ability was negatively related to alphabet knowledge. Nonverbal cognition and expressive language at mean age 2½ years predicted later reading performance at mean age 5½ years. These results support the importance of early language skills as a foundation for reading in children with ASD.


Emergent literacyReadingLanguageComprehensionAutism spectrum disorder

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders/Waisman CenterUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA