Teaching Phonics to Preschool Children with Autism Using Frequency-Building and Computer-Assisted Instruction

  • Michelle O’Brien
  • Aoife Mc Tiernan
  • Jennifer Holloway


The current study investigated the effects of a computer-assisted frequency-building intervention to increase fluency with letter-sound correspondences. A multiple probe design across stimulus sets was employed with four children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to evaluate the outcomes of intervention. Pre-intervention measures of language ability, repetitive, and on-task behavior were recorded in order to assess how such participant characteristics may impact intervention effects. Increases in the rate of correct letter-sound correspondences were found for all participants. Measures of outcomes associated with fluency; namely, maintenance, endurance, stability, application, and generativity were also recorded. Participants demonstrated the ability to maintain high rates of correct responding for all fluency outcomes at post-testing, with the exception of generativity.


Fluency-based instruction Computer-assisted instruction Phonics Autism 



The authors would like to thank Juniper Tree Autism Services, Athlone, Ireland, and in particular the four students who participated. Thank you for supporting this research and making a valuable contribution to this important area of research for children with autism.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Parental consent was obtained for all participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle O’Brien
    • 1
  • Aoife Mc Tiernan
    • 2
  • Jennifer Holloway
    • 1
  1. 1.National University of IrelandGalwayIreland
  2. 2.University of South WalesPontypriddUK

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