Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 1193–1204 | Cite as

Digital Books with Dynamic Text and Speech Output: Effects on Sight Word Reading for Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Kelsey MandakEmail author
  • Janice Light
  • David McNaughton
Original Paper


Despite the importance of literacy in today’s educational curriculum, learning to read is a challenge for many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). One of the foundational skills of early literacy learning is the ability to recognize sight words. This study used a single-subject, multiple-probe, across-participants design, to investigate the effects of a new software feature, dynamic text and speech output, on the acquisition of sight words by three pre-literate preschoolers with ASD during shared digital book reading experiences. All participants demonstrated successful acquisition of the target sight words with minimal exposure to the words. Limitations and future research directions are discussed, including the importance of investigating how the new software feature can be integrated into a more comprehensive literacy curriculum.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) Literacy Sight word reading Digital text Visual scene displays (VSDs) 


Author Contributions

KM conceptualized the study design, recruited participants, completed data analysis and interpretation, and wrote the manuscript. JL and DM obtained funding, contributed to the interpretation of the findings, and made contributions to the revision of the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This study was funded by (a) a doctoral training grant funded by U.S. Department of Education Grant #H325D110008; and (b) a Grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR Grant #90RE5017) to the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (The RERC on AAC). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this study do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement.

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

It was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication Sciences and DisordersThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special EducationThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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