Reading Skills in Children and Adolescents with ASD

Poster Presentation
Saturday, May 4, 2019: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Room: 710 (Palais des congres de Montreal)
M. B. McClain and C. R. Haverkamp, Psychology, Utah State University, Logan, UT
Background: There is a limited amount of research on ASD and academic functioning (Keen, Webster, & Ridley, 2016). A review of intervention literature specific to children with ASD conducted by Wong and colleagues (2015) found that only 12 percent of the reviewed articles emphasized academic outcomes. Achievement profiles within this population vary (Assouline, Nicpon, & Dockery, 2012), but many individuals with ASD experience academic difficulties, including those who have cognitive abilities in the average range (Estes et al., 2011; Kim, Bal, & Lord, 2018). Reading skills are particularly variable in children with ASD (Nation, Clark, Wright, & Williams, 2006), but research suggests that reading comprehension skills tend to be more impaired than reading fluency within this population (e.g., Mayes & Calhoun, 2008; McIntyre et al., 2017; Whitby & Mancil, 2009). McIntyre and colleagues (2017) found that in a sample of children with ASD, ADHD, and TD, 55%, 33%, and 11%, performed 1 standard deviation or greater below the mean on a standardized measure of reading comprehension, respectively. Assessing reading skills during psychological and psychoeducational evaluations for all students with ASD is important, as it will assist with important educational and school-based intervention planning.

Objectives: Research suggests that several neurocognitive and language abilities play a role in reading deficits in children with ASD (e.g., May et al., 2013; McIntyre et al., 2017; Sansosti et al., 2013). Additional research is needed to more comprehensively understand these relationships. Moreover, given the importance of measuring reading skills in children with ASD, examining how consistently primary standardized assessment tools measure reading skills within this population is needed. The current study preliminarily explores the following research questions: (1) What are the neurocognitive and language correlates associated with reading skills in children with ASD in comparison to individuals without ASD (with and without reading difficulties)?, and (2) is there any variance in reading skill performance across three commonly used standardized assessments in children with ASD?

Methods: Data collection will commence January 2019. Participants in the current study will be children with ASD, specific learning disability (SLD), or TD children between the ages of 6 and 17 and their parents/caregivers and teachers. Child participants will complete a hearing screening, the CELF-5, WISC-V, GORT-5, and reading subtests of the WJ-IV ACH, WIAT-III, and KTEA-3. Children’s parents and teachers will complete the ASRS, BRIEF-2, and Conners-3.

Results: For this presentation, descriptive data will be presented. If there have been sufficient participants, repeated measures regression or multilevel modeling (MLM) will be used.

Conclusions: The current presentation will highlight preliminary neurocognitive and language correlates of reading performance for children with ASD and children without ASD (with and without reading difficulties) and discuss the similarities and differences in reading performances across these groups as measured by commonly used standardized achievement tests. The importance of measuring reading performance in youth with ASD, understanding factors that may influence reading skills in this population, and clinical and educational implications will be addressed.

See more of: Education
See more of: Education