Emergent literacy assessment in children with autism spectrum disorder who have limited verbal communication skills: A tutorial
Clendon, Sally, Paynter, Jessica, Walker, Susan, Bowen, Rachael, & Westerveld, Marleen
Purpose: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at increased risk of experiencing difficulties with the development of literacy, including the emergent literacy skills recognized to underpin conventional literacy success. Comprehensive assessment is essential. Characteristics of ASD can make assessment challenging, and this can be compounded when children are unable to demonstrate their skills using spoken language. The purpose of this clinical tutorial is to outline the process of emergent literacy assessment for children with ASD who have limited verbal communication skills. A case example of a five-year-old boy is presented.
Method: Pertinent literature is reviewed around the literacy profiles of children with ASD, the subgroup of children with ASD who have limited verbal communication skills, key components of emergent literacy, and previous research examining the emergent literacy abilities of children with ASD. The case report is described in depth and emphasizes the key factors to consider when designing an assessment battery and protocol.
Results: The case example information is interpreted, and its application is discussed. Key outcomes are highlighted including a greater understanding of the child’s literacy strengths and needs and the implications for individualized instruction.
Conclusion: The clinical tutorial highlights the need for a comprehensive, well-planned assessment approach, that involves all members of the educational team, and that is considerate to the needs of the individual child and responsive to their communication needs.