Autistic pupil

This forum has been created to provide a non-challenging environment for teachers and parents new to using synthetic phonics.
Posts: 60
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:05 am

Autistic pupil

Post by Kiki »

I have a 14 year old pupil starting with a Statement for being on the autistic spectrum. He has a reading age of just 6. His basic code knowledge is good but he cant manage multi syllable words and can't segment (yet). He can't manipulate or process sounds either. I didn't test his spelling age as I suspected it would barely get on the scale and he was nervous at the thought.

He seems a lovely lad but parent says he has quite a temper which I imagine is when he gets stressed - so I don't want to push too hard or fast. I plan to use the SRS basic structure.

Any hints and tips?

Posts: 549
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 2:11 pm

Re: Autistic pupil

Post by palisadesk »

I've had several pupils with autism who were beginners in reading and can probably make some useful suggestions, but need to know just a little bit more about your student: how, especially, is his oral language -- both receptive and expressive? Does he have age-appropriate oral communication skills -- asking and answering questions, briefly describing things, etc.? Can he follow oral directions? How is his achievement in other subjects -- for instance, is he good at math, especially practical skills like money, measurement, reading graphs and tables? What sort of situation is he in in school -- a "full inclusion" setting, a special class, a special school? Does he have any significant "co-morbid" diagnoses (developmental disability, medical problems).

Autism is a spectrum of course, but how one best teaches the student is partly determined by what his or her particular challenges are. I'm not familiar with the SRS system, but in general I've found that students with autism do best with correspondences taught explicitly, one at a time (not the "many spellings to one sound" approach), but your student's particular situation might be different from those I've taught. Some learn decoding easily, others do not -- level of language development is a factor here.

Susan S.

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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: Autistic pupil

Post by geraldinecarter »

I hope, Kiwi, that you will be able to provide the information for Susan S. She has a huge amount of experience and has some very intereeting observations about teaching children with Autism.

A colleague of mine taught a very challenging Autistic boy using SRS (it's based on Diane McGuinnes and pg structure with vastly superior materials ) and the BRI/ARI books. She had all 150+ little books on her bookshelf and told him that he would be able to read all of them - which he did eventually. He'd completely lost trust or belief that he would be able to read before he started(having lost faith in adults after a teacher had told him that the moon was 'always round'! What did he see the following night but a new moon - so that was the end of trust.... until my colleague restored it).