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Literacy Development in Autism: Predicting Reading Comprehension Using AIMSweb Early Literacy Measures


The simple view of reading suggests that reading comprehension is the product of decoding skills and oral language comprehension. In line with this view, previous research suggests that there is a relationship between early literacy measures and comprehension measures in typically developing (TD) students; this area is more recently being examined in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Furthermore, child characteristics, such as oral language skills, problem behaviors, IQ and social skills, effect the development of reading comprehension, especially in children with ASD who have specific deficits in these areas. Children between the ages of 4 and 7 (M = 5.13 years) and their parents (N = 120) were recruited from a larger longitudinal study and were assessed at three time points. Results suggest that components of early literacy develop out of concert in young children with ASD. Furthermore, while early literacy skills do predict reading comprehension in this sample (R2 = .33, F(1, 112) = 54.94, p < .001), oral language skills and IQ predict reading comprehension above and beyond these early literacy measures (R2 = .42, F(3, 108) = 26.06, p < .001). The reading development of children with ASD appears to be both similar and dissimilar to that of TD children.

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