Sharing our collective love of storybooks, shared reading and all-time favorite picture books was just a small part of our May Literacy and Autism workshop. But that fundamental piece of engaging emerging readers fueled this three-hour presentation. While developed for parents, educators made up the bulk of attendees, and they gained valuable insight into how to help parents engage their children through books in the home environment.
We focused on how developing literacy addresses the core challenges in ASD. This content included visual processing, joint attention, central coherence, and mirror neurons. Many examples from everyday home life were shared, and attendees left knowing how to incorporate the following literacy hallmarks easily into daily life: language-rich environment, engagement, and shared book reading. Shared book reading is the main way to engage all emerging readers. While this can be a challenging activity for kids with ASD, attendees were inspired by the practical strategies they learned to bring everyone into the wonderful world of literacy.
Attendees left with the following knowledge:
- using books within routines
- choosing books that will engage children with ASD
- the technique of pausing in a story with repetition to promote language
- working on joint attention
- using books to develop language skills in children with ASD
- new ideas to share with parents
This workshop was made possible with a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education using federal funding, CFDA 84.027A, Special Education- Grants to States.