Strong readers pick up on gist and specific details, attribute significance to the order in which information is presented and rely on referents within the text to follow along. If at the end of the page all five fingers are raised, it may be wise to choose material containing more familiar vocabulary. Students with autism may read and process language in a fluent way. This is in contrast to children with dyslexia who often struggle to decode written language. Nonetheless, these students are not always able to access semantic meaning in the same way. They can have trouble visualizing action and understanding the social interactions upon which many storylines rely.
Have you heard of hyperlexia? Some students with autism possess an uncanny ability to read and process text at a very fast pace. Researchers have used brain scans to show that this is due to simultaneous activity in the left and right hemispheres of the brain, allowing for phonological and visual processing to be engaged at the same time. Autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder due to the wide range of symptoms that individuals may present.
Start with audio-books or books that contain images. Some students with autism learn best through sound while others tend to be strong visual learners. Take advantage of this by playing audio-books in the car or on a home stereo or reading picture books that clearly show action and narrative progression.
Read together from an early age. The sooner you start reading to a child with ASD the better, as fostering a love of books and familiarity with how they work are important pre-literacy skills for children to develop. Demonstrate active reading skills.
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Narrate your understanding of a text out loud, even if the child does not seem interested. You might go so far as to ask and answer questions to model the types of internal monitoring that skilled readers engage in. Select material on their favourite subject. Some children take an extreme interest in certain subject areas so try providing them with material that satisfies their thirst for knowledge.
Any practice with reading comprehension is helpful even if it means they read several books on the same topic. Show them how to read on a computer or tablet. Show learners how to research online, read material from the web and access digital books. Emphasize top-down strategies. Taking a global perspective in reading can be difficult, as can connecting a text to external ideas.
You can try making mind-maps or having a discussion about the topic before the reading begins. Highlight referents and annotate paragraphs. Teach children with autism to monitor their understanding as they read. Show them how to re-read for missing information. It may be helpful to highlight and underline text. Discuss figurative language. Making inferences is not always the easiest skill to master, which is why parents and teachers can help by explaining the meaning behind abstract language. Promote sight reading.
The more words a child recognizes, the easier it is to understand a sentence. New readers can reduce the amount of decoding needed by familiarizing themselves with sight words or high frequency terms that they are likely to encounter regularly. Read more about teaching sight words. The Touch-type Read and Spell programme is a multi-sensory course that enhances literacy through the teaching of keyboarding skills.
Learners hear a word spoken out loud, see it on the screen and then type the corresponding keys. Modules follow the phonics based Orton-Gillingham approach and students are repeatedly exposed to high frequency vocabulary in order to teach sight-reading. Learn more. TTRS may be particularly helpful for autistic children as it is delivered via a computer and students can take a self-directed approach to learning.
This means they can review past lessons until they feel ready to move on.
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Learners also benefit from personalized feedback and progress monitoring that helps to build self-esteem and confidence in students of all ages. Do you have any experience with autism and reading comprehension? Join the discussion in the comments! View the discussion thread. Maria used to type with two-fingers, slowly and often inaccurately. Now she types faster, with fewer errors, more competently and professionally. This has boosted her confidence in the workplace tremendously.
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Text types include non-fiction, textbooks, picture books, art, advertisements, posters, graphic novels, comic strips, animations, film clips, web pages, and more. Teaching visual literacy requires students and teachers to have a shared visual metalanguage a shared, specialised terminology that describes meaning. Access to a visual metalanguage will enable students and teachers to accurately and consistently talk about how meaning is made in visual texts, in the same way that we use a commonly understood grammar of language to talk about meaning making in written and spoken texts.
A metalanguage enables a comparison of texts. The visual metalanguage already in the Victorian Curriculum: English, and further expanded in this resource, is primarily informed by the work of Kress and van Leeuwen This visual metalanguage identifies and names various key components of visual meaning, and the relationships of these components with each other, using recognised visual literacy conventions, based on shared cultural and social knowledge of visual meaning, and patterns and purposes of visual design which have developed over time Callow, , Kress, This resource provides further support for teaching visual literacy through an expanded visual metalanguage with visual examples, discussion questions and guides.
The context, or environment in which a text is responded to, or created, is an important consideration in the first stages of examining an image or visual text. It is important to begin by examining the image as a whole. The following sequence of questions provides a way to begin this discussion. For each question, ask students to expand on their responses by explaining reasons why, and encourage them to use evidence from the image to justify their responses, using visual design metalanguage. Through these discussions, different interpretations of the image may emerge which forms the basis for further discussion and exploration.
Visual comprehension requires a focused, carefully sequenced approach to develop analytical thinking and semiotically informed observational skills. A close analysis of how visual texts make meaning can be framed around three graduated levels. Level 1: Literal: Locate, Recall, Connect. What do you see? The answer is in the image. Justify answers with evidence from the text. Students search for the information within the text. Level 2: Inferential: Infer and Interpret. What do you think this means? What evidence in the text supports your answer? Students use the literal information and combine it with other information from the image or context, and prior knowledge to make inferences based on this information.
This requires close analysis of the text and deeper thinking about this. What do you think about this?
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Students combine the literal and inferential information from the text with other ideas and knowledge to extend thinking beyond the text. This section presents a framework for identifying and organising a visual metalanguage for understanding and talking about how visual meaning is conveyed in visual texts.
This framework is organised according to function, or how visual design choices are made to most effectively convey the meaning the author wishes to make. Three, simultaneously occurring, meaning functions have been identified which occur in every text Halliday, , Unsworth, This functional framework also informs the way the Victorian Curriculum: English organises teaching about language.
For this context working with images and the visual semiotic mode, these three meaning functions are described as:.
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A guide for examining the available meaning making resources for each function used by the image author to visually design meaning in the text, and an associated visual metalanguage to talk about this, is provided in the following sections. The brief definition of each function, in terms of designing meaning in visual texts, is based on the descriptions for the language strand written and spoken language in the Victorian Curriculum, with elaborations for working with the visual mode informed by Kress and van Leeuwen , Callow , and Painter, Martin and Unsworth Anstey, M.
Using multimodal texts and digital resources in a multiliterate classroom. Sydney: Primary English Teaching Association. Callow, J. Halliday, M. London: Edward Arnold. Jewitt, C. Multimodality and Literacy. School Classrooms. Kalantzis, M.
Kress, G. Multimodality: a social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. London ; New York: Routledge. Reading images: the grammar of visual design 2nd ed. London: Routledge. Macken-Horarik, M. Navigational metalanguages for new territory in English: The potential of grammatics.