Authors: Mucchetti CA
Title: Adapted shared reading at school for minimally verbal students with Autism
Source: Autism 2013 17(3): 358-372
Year: 2013
Research Design: Single Case Design

Almost nothing is known about the capacity of minimally verbal students with Autism to develop literacy skills. Shared reading is a regular practice in early education settings and is widely thought to encourage language and literacy development. There is some evidence that children with severe disabilities can be engaged in adapted shared reading activities. The current study examines the impact of teacher-led adapted shared reading activities on engagement and story comprehension in minimally verbal 5-6-year-old children with Autism using a multiple baseline/alternating treatment design. Four students and three teachers participated. Teachers conducted adapted shared reading activities with modified books (visual supports, three-dimensional objects, simplified text) and used specific strategies for increasing student engagement. Student performance during adapted activities was compared to performance during standard shared reading sessions. Results: All four students showed increased story comprehension and engagement during adapted shared reading. Average percentage of session engaged was 87%-100% during adapted sessions, compared with 41%-52% during baseline. Average number of correct responses to story comprehension questions was 4.2-4.8 out of 6 during adapted sessions compared with 1.2-2 during baseline. Visual supports, tactile objects, and specific teaching strategies offer ways for minimally verbal students to meaningfully participate in literacy activities. Future research should investigate adapted shared reading activities implemented classroomwide as well as joint engagement, language, and literacy outcomes after using such activities over time.

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