How to Teach Reading to Individuals with Asperger Syndrome (page 2)

By — Autism Society
Updated on Mar 8, 2010

Some ideas surrounding and including reading instruction include:

Characteristic of AS Instead of ........ Try ............
Deficits in social interaction Think, pair, share Think, write, pair, share or script this activity.  Use readers' theatre
Difficulty reading nonverbal social behaviors Collaborative groups Teach facial expressions related to emotions and unstated thoughts using a text with a character profile of interest to the individual with AS
Difficulty initiating, participating in and sustaining peer relationships Collaborative groups and book clubs Define, teach and assign roles of group members prior to stating the demands of group work
Lack of sharing their own interests and reciprocating with sharing interests of others

Exploration of genres

Popcorn Reading or volunteer participation in class discussion

Offer students a list of timeframes and genres for the semester or year (they may need to prepare for these changes in content)

Offer a speaker pass to define reciprocal classroom participation - some students with AS may need forewarning to develop their response prior to being called upon (scripted partcipation)

Social/emotional reciprocity (perspective and point of view of others) Character development (including point of view)

Teach, write together and read/use social narratives.

Role play and scrip chracters related to the student's story-based profile; help link the character to elements of people they know (may need to be visually represented in a graphic organizer)

Engages in restrictive and repetitive behaviors Classroom managed by expectation of uniformity and conformity Plan for students to differ according to their regulatory needs
Develops routines and rituals Fast-paced transitions from one reading-related task to another

Give timeframes for tasks.

Gauge work with time and ability (how many questions does the student really need to answer to demonstrate knowledge of the content)

Use visual timers, songs, or countdowns to cue transitions.

Designate a place for unfinished work and mark it with a note as to when it should be completed

Preoccupied with the parts, rather than the whole

Plot mapping


Teach and encourage the use of graphic organizers that link the parts and the whole (letters to words; introduction, rising action, climax and closing to plot; age, gender, personality, mood, etc., to character)

Encourage placement of parts into a visual structure that represents a whole, with the expectation that the whole will be named.

Demonstrates difficulty with executive functioning

title based assignments (e.g., "for homework tonight do your journal....")

Oral directions

Note taking

Break assignments into steps and provide in writing


Present directions in writing

Teach the use of graphic organizers, guided notes, outlining and highlighting text


Remember: Students with AS hve typical oral language development and often advanced vocabulary acquisition, especially in their area of interest.  They also have no notable dely in cognition or adaptive behavior/daily living skills.

Use These Strengths in the Development of Reading Strategies

Using this alignment framework, in addition to the development and outlining of roles that comes with collaboration among content teachers, intervention specialists, administrators, paraprofessionals, parents and students, makes the teaching of reading for students with AS feasible and beneficial for all who partake.

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