The Emergent Literacy Skills of Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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A high percentage of school-age students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have reading comprehension difficulties leading to academic disadvantage. These difficulties may be related to differences in children’s emergent literacy development in the preschool years. In this study, we examined the relationship between emergent literacy skills, broader cognitive and language ability, autism severity, and home literacy environment factors in 57 preschoolers with ASD. The children showed strengths in code-related emergent literacy skills such as alphabet knowledge, but significant difficulties with meaning-related emergent literacy skills. There was a significant relationship between meaning-related skills, autism severity, general oral language skills, and nonverbal cognition. Identification of these meaning-related precursors will guide the targets for early intervention to help ensure reading success for students with ASD.
KeywordsASD Emergent literacy Preschool-age
The authors acknowledge the assistance from Dr Deborah Costley and Dr Greta Ridley. We sincerely thank the families who participated in this study for their time and commitment to the study.
MW conceived of the study, initiated the grant application, participated in its design and coordination and drafted the manuscript; JP participated in the design and statistical analysis of the data and helped draft the manuscript; DT participated in the design and statistical analysis of the data. AW, AH and JR participated in the design; All authors assisted with participant recruitment, participated in the interpretation of the data, provided feedback on the manuscript drafts, and read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism, established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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