The Literacy Competence of Children with Autism Spectrum Syndrome: A Systematic Review of Three Decades of Research

By Lily Dyson.

Published by The International Journal of Literacies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 20, 2015 $US5.00

This paper features a systematic review of the literacy competence of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) under the ages of 18 years. Using the combination of a computer-mediated approach along with the constant comparison method (to generate a qualitative component), the study reviewed 21 articles published between 1990 and 2013. The students included in the studies ranged from 4 to 15 years. The analysis found various literacy skills that were demonstrated by the students with ASD. The more common skills were word reading or identification, phonetic decoding, and non-word reading. The weakest skills were reading comprehension and general verbal ability (expressive language). The results show that many children with ASD possess a variety of basic literacy skills such as word recognition and that higher-functioning students with ASD can achieve the level of reading competence found amongst children with no known learning difficulties. As a result of this review, it is the suggestion of the author that children with ASD in general possess the basic literacy skills which can allow them to develop a higher order of literacy such as reading comprehension. Implications for teaching youths with ASD and research are suggested.

Keywords: Literacy, Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders, ASD, Students

The International Journal of Literacies, Volume 21, Issue 3-4, March 2015, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 20, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 508.263KB)).

Dr. Lily Dyson

Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada

Lily Dyson's research focuses on the literacy of children with socio-economic disadvantage or with disabilities. Other research interest includes family development as related to children's disabilities or immigration and cross-national study of inclusion.