Patterns of Reading Ability in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Kate NationEmail author
  • Paula Clarke
  • Barry Wright
  • Christine Williams


This study investigated reading skills in 41 children with autism spectrum disorder. Four components of reading skill were assessed: word recognition, nonword decoding, text reading accuracy and text comprehension. Overall, levels of word and nonword reading and text reading accuracy fell within average range although reading comprehension was impaired. However, there was considerable variability across the sample with performance on most tests ranging from floor to ceiling levels. Some children read accurately but showed very poor comprehension, consistent with a hyperlexia reading profile; some children were poor at reading words and nonwords whereas others were unable to decode nonwords, despite a reasonable level of word reading skill. These findings demonstrate the heterogeneous nature of reading skills in children with ASD.


Reading Language Comprehension Autism Hyperlexia 



This work was supported by grants from The Wellcome Trust and The Innovation and Research Priming Fund (University of York) awarded to the first author. Some of the data were collected while she was a member of the Department of Psychology at the University of York. We are grateful to the participating families for their help and co-operation. We would also like to thank Maggie Snowling and Dorothy Bishop for providing additional control data for the Graded Nonword Reading Test, Philip Angell for research assistance and Courtenay Norbury and Dorothy Bishop for their helpful comments. We would also like to thank paediatricians Rob Smith and Anne Kelly for allowing us to approach some of the families under their care for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate Nation
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paula Clarke
    • 2
  • Barry Wright
    • 3
  • Christine Williams
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  3. 3.Child and Adolescent Mental HealthSelby and York Primary Care TrustYorkUK

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