April is Autism acceptance month and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to show you how I use my adapted readers with ASD students. My students often have several characteristics that impact their learning such as little to no speech, poor or no fine motor skills and poor attention skills.
The first thing to remember is that all children, including those with autism, CAN learn to read. The second thing to remember is that a child does not need to be able to speak in order to read.
So how do we teach students with little to no verbal skills? How do we prove it?
I had been adapting some of my commercially bought leveled readers by reproducing the text and then having the children move the words to make the sentence in the book. The only problem was that because my students needed so many opportunities to practice the same words over and over again in different contexts, I ran out of books that were simple enough for them to read.
The other issue was that some of my students had poor fine motor skills and pieces would often slide off slant boards or get knocked to the ground by shaky fingers. I needed Velcro.
I decided then that I would have to make my own.
Since spring was coming up, this first set is geared toward spring activities. Book one has three words per page and book two has four.
By limiting the options that I give to the children, I gear it to their level. Once the child gets good at finding words, I will add some distractors to make sure they are reading the words in the book.
I also made some take home books that the kids could cut and paste, color and then share with their family.
Flash cards with some of the vocabulary in the books were used for "write the room" and comprehension activities.
The problem with standardized assessment kits is that the comprehension question require verbal skills. How do we prove a child with no verbal skills can read?
Can they pick out sight words?
Can they match sentences to a given picture? and
Can they answer comprehension questions?
I made some comprehension questions to go with my stories. There is one question per page. Some of the questions require general knowledge and some require relating the story to their life. All the questions can be answered without verbal skills.
I've included an assessment sheet to keep track of your students answers.
Comprehension question choices can be reduced to three or even two choices if students need more limited options.
In honor of World Autism Acceptance Day tomorrow.
My books will be 1/2 price tomorrow.