19 Mar 2022


Reading Interventions for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Academic level: Master’s

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All students ought to know how to read comprehension even those with disabilities still have to learn how to read so as to obtain more information and knowledge through comprehension. One of the best ways of learning is through reading and analyzing comprehensions. When a student is not in a position to capture the teachings of the teacher he has to supplement it with individual learning through reading texts. The challenge comes with students with Autism Spectrum (ASD) disorders who have different issues with reading. Such students have disabilities in reading in that; they don’t tend to understand comprehension. Even when they are taught, they learn at a slow rate compared to others as stated by O'Connor and Klein (2004). 

This is why teachers need to be keen in dealing with students suffering from ASD. Despite their challenges they still need to read and learn like the other students. Research has proved that such students are in a position to learn if they are taken care of (Machalicek, et al. 2007). Techniques like supervision during reading, providing background information, making them acquire knowledge has been employed here for the success of students with ASD. These techniques have been highlighted and discussed in detailed in this text. Research is still going on and each day a new technique is brought out, and soon this problem is going to be about the past. This text shows a few of possible solutions to this spectrum, but there are plenty of solution that has been researched and proved to help students with this disorders. 

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Autism spectrum disorders are mental disorders in which the victim has abnormal self-absorption depicted by the lack of response to other people and by limited ability and disinclination to communicate and socialize with others. The ASD disorders are characterized in varying degrees that is; difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. This disorder tends to develop since childhood stages of a child, where most of the signs and symptoms become visible between the age of 2 and 3 years and if not treated early one grows with it. Specific causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders have not yet been clear enough in the past years despite deep research on its causes (O'Connor and Klein, 2004). 

This disorder affects the reading of students. When a student is suffering from ASD, he/she has no interest in reading comprehensions. To consider this, a review of what skills is hard for students with ASD to acquire. When the answer is obtained, that is the way to come up with strategies for helping such students. This should be employed by teachers and what other students can do, ASD students can also do even though it is at a slower rate. This is a disease that has no cure but through daily enhancement, one can get through it successful. There are several ways of making ASD manageable disorders. This can be through giving background knowledge, reciprocal teaching and activating prior knowledge. 

Background knowledge

To help students with ASD with reading comprehension, he should be equipped with background knowledge. Students should carry out a post-learning of a text by visiting areas that correspond with the text so as to be familiar with the text and help them with easy reading. This kind of knowledge is the responsibility of the teacher, and it helps them with familiarities of the context. In many cases, students with disabilities have been ignored when such knowledge is given to the normal student (Chiang and Lin, 2007). This, however, adds more disability to the affected students and calls for their considerations. When students with ASD have a problem with reading a certain topic, and there is a way of getting background knowledge about it, why won’t you make an effort as a teacher? 

There are plenty of ways to obtaining background knowledge on the focus topic. A situation where the teachers students a film is a good example of obtaining background knowledge on the concern topic (Machalicek, et al. 2007)Teachers can also narrate related stories; highlight the possible experience of the learner towards the text. This way makes the student have a deeper understanding of the text hence create easiness in reading the comprehension. Expand the knowledge of the student let the student, provide to them other books related to the text, and involve them with questions to make them participate in the reading. This is a sure way to boost the reading habit of the students with disorders.

Reciprocal Teaching

This is a situation whereby the teacher asks one student to be the teacher for the moments and teaches the rest of the students. This helps other students understand more because of the relation they have with the fellow student. The students who also teach the other obtain more knowledge also through frequent teaching and getting challenges from other students. This is brought about by teachers discussing with the students and follows a certain structure that will aid in the success of this teaching (Chiang and Lin, 2007). The student is expected to summarize a text, create questions in it, make it clear and predict the possible outcome of the questions. After such a discussion and the teacher prove that the student is good to go, he welcomes him/her to be the teacher and teach the rest of the class. This will go on to a point where the students are flexible with this strategy and move on to the next level. 

Now they are in a position to learn on their own, and the teacher is now responsible for creating them groups in that they can learn by themselves. This creates a high level of confidence from the students. Those suffering from ASD also can do this, but their situation is different. They need keen guidance and effort from the teachers to attain this stage. According to Chiang and Lin (2007), teachers should go and extra mile to ensure that they get to this point. Even if it means taking them through tutorials or vides from other students who have done the same and become successful, this acts as a motivation to them. 

Activating prior knowledge through cloze text

Cloze texts are texts that have hidden some words and gaps created for students to fill them. These gaps are filled after they go through the text and understand what is needed to fill the gap. A list of the words can be provided but placed randomly to help the student with filling the gap. The student now has to understand the text well; he should refer to the text so as to obtain the relevant words to fill in the gap (Kokina and Kern, 2010). This way a student is in a position to comprehend the text and come up with a good comprehension. This is the act of obtaining prior knowledge and is what is lacked by students suffering from Autism. 

Information is available in the text but obtaining the information is the big deal to ASD students in that they can’t read comprehension. According to Machalicek, et al. (2007), making students to answer cloze text helps them to obtain this prior knowledge. Not only cloze text but also answering other questions obtained from comprehension. Another way of improving comprehension as stated by Kokina and Kern (2010) is by taking time previewing the context before reading them. Go through the headlines, the pictures if available and possibly charts and organizers to familiarize with the text before reading it. This aids with a better understanding of the context. It makes the students engaging in the context, and they tend to enjoy reading. Cloze tests can also be in the form of a game where students are expected to find the missing words. This can of a game is entertaining but also sharpens their brains to a big deal. 


Students with Autism spectrum disorders can manage it very well if they are helped through it by their teachers. It can be tiresome helping them but in the end fruitful. The effect research obtained from this paper will help greatly help students facing these disorders. Such students are there to help and it is everybody’s responsibility to do so out of heart. These students should not be separated from the rest of the students but rather mixed with them so that they can learn from one another. By doing so, they will develop some confidence in them and learn more compared to when they were alone. Although what would appear pleasing or entertaining to a normal student may not be the case to the student with this disorder that does not in any way suggest that they hardly can be together. It’s just a matter of making this student diverge their attitude, and they may be straight. Being positive to them can change these disorders, it’s not a disease that is being treated by drugs. If techniques are followed well and the affected are put into consideration, then there is no difference between a normal student and the affected one (Chiang and Lin, 2007). All can learn together under the same roof with the normal students always being there to support them throughout their learning, and the affected children will be in a position to manage this disorders.


Chiang, H. M., & Lin, Y. H. (2007). Reading comprehension instruction for students with autism spectrum disorders a review of the literature. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities , 22 (4), 259-267.

Kokina, A., & Kern, L. (2010). Social Story™ interventions for students with autism spectrum disorders: A meta-analysis. Journal of autism and developmental disorders , 40 (7), 812-826.

Machalicek, W., O’Reilly, M. F., Beretvas, N., Sigafoos, J., & Lancioni, G. E. (2007). A review of interventions to reduce challenging behavior in school settings for students with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders , 1 (3), 229-246.

O'Connor, I. M., & Klein, P. D. (2004). Exploration of strategies for facilitating the reading comprehension of high-functioning students with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders , 34 (2), 115-127.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Reading Interventions for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.


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