Effects of School-Based Literacy Interventions for Preschoolers with ASD: 1 Year Follow up

Poster Presentation
Thursday, May 10, 2018: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Hall Grote Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)
R. F. Hudson, E. Sanders and C. Gasamis, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Background: It is well established that readers need to develop proficiency in word reading and general language comprehension to read with comprehension (Oakhill, Cain, & Bryant, 2003). This study compares two school-based interventions that target one side of the simple view of reading. Both interventions were 1:1, 4 days a week for 20 weeks. One intervention was Interactive Book Reading (IBR), which was found to increase expressive vocabulary (d = .29) and listening comprehension (d = .30) in comparison to a BAU control group immediately after intervention. The other intervention was phonological awareness (PA), which increased phonological awareness (d = .39) immediately after intervention. A remaining question is whether these gains have maintained 1 year later.

Objectives: Determine the longer term effects of treatments for preschool children with ASD

Methods: This study followed a sequential cohort design. Across the three years, children with ASD were randomly assigned to IBR (n = 48), PA (n= 43) or BAU control (n = 44) group. The inclusion criteria were (a) a
medical diagnosis of ASD or an educational identification, (b) an active IEP and receive services for ASD, (c) enrolled in their last year of preschool, (d) no known co-occurring neurological or genetic disorders, and (e) a
minimum standard score of 55 on the OWEPVT. Children were given the following measures pre- and post-intervention and one year later: Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–IV, Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test–IV, Oral Communication, Letter-Word Identification, and Following Directions subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement, the Phonological Awareness and Concepts About Print subtests of the Test of Preschool Early Literacy. In the spring of Kindergarten, children were also administered the Passage Comprehension subtest of the WJ-III and Oral Reading Fluency on two first grade passages.

Results: A multilevel modeling approach for testing differences among three conditions, while adjusting for pretest, was employed to account for dependencies in the data due to classroom and site. Initial results indicate that children in the IBR condition had generally better outcomes one year later despite the initial results favoring IBR on language variables. Specifically when looking at Standard Scores, the PA group was significantly higher than the IBR group on the following variables: receptive vocabulary, listening comprehension, passage comprehension, and oral reading fluency. In addition, the PA group was significantly higher than the BAU group on letter-word ID. No differences between BAU and IBR were found.

Conclusions: These results are somewhat surprising given that the PA intervention focused on developing phonological awareness and not oral language and these effects were not found immediately after intervention. However, it is in line with the findings of Dynia et al. (2017) that found PA to be an important emergent literacy predictor for kindergarten decoding among children with ASD. They are also somewhat surprising given that children with ASD tend to have difficulties in listening and reading comprehension, which one might expect to find improved after an intervention that demonstrated a large gain in vocabulary and listening comprehension immediately after intervention.