Reading is considered the most important academic skill children learn in school. Although children with ASD or an intellectual disability may demonstrate slower and more variable progress in learning early reading skills, current research on phonics instruction indicates they can make progress when taught prerequisite skills and provided with appropriate instruction. Some children with ASD may need no or only minor modifications of instructional procedures to learn to read. Others may require very intensive instructional procedures. In this presentation issues, procedures, and curricula pertaining to reading instruction for children with ASD or an intellectual disability will be discussed.
Participants ages 16 to 33 years old participated in a five-week summer intensive behavior skill building and habilitation training course offered to adults with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities at the local college. Trained ABA therapists taught individuals in natural settings with individualized programs and goals to teach communication, social, and adaptive living skills. A switching replications design was used to measure participants' communication skills, social skills, adaptive living skills, and quality of life from pre- to post-intervention. A multiple probe across behaviors design was used to measure each participant's social and communication skills across three identified behaviors. Results demonstrated a significant increase in skills acquired with the intervention across participants. Parents rated the intervention high in social validity, and significant changes in social, communication, adaptive living skills, and quality of life were seen across participants. The research highlights the need for intensive ABA training programs for adults with disabilities to enhance skill development, independence, and quality of life.