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Title: Developing an intervention to improve reading comprehension for children and young people with autism spectrum disorders
Author: Turner, H.
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Aim: This study investigates the use of an intervention to improve the reading comprehension of adolescents with autism. Recent research suggests that 30% of children and young people with autism demonstrate a 'hyperlexic’ profile whereby they display accurate word reading but struggle to understand the content of what they are reading. Currently very little is known regarding which interventions are effective for this group of students and no research has been conducted on interventions for adolescents with autism and reading comprehension difficulties. Method: 29 pupils with autism, (mean age 13 years, 6 months) and difficulties with reading comprehension took part in the intervention (15 in the intervention condition and 14 in the control condition). The intervention used an adapted version of the Reciprocal Teaching approach developed by Palincsar and Brown (1984). This was delivered in 50-minute sessions, twice a week over a period of 6 weeks by the researcher. The impact of the intervention is evaluated using a standardised measure of reading comprehension. Furthermore, semi-structured interviews were conducted to capture participants’ views of the efficacy and organization of the intervention. Findings: The results indicated that the intervention group demonstrated an increase in their reading comprehension equivalent to three years of progress as measured by the York Assessment of Reading Comprehension (YARC). Statistical analyses indicated that this increase in comprehension was significantly greater in the intervention group than in the control group. Semi-structured interviews with participants indicated that many demonstrated a shift in their approach to reading with a greater focus on comprehension. Participants also identified that the intervention supported their speaking and listening skills. Conclusions: This study makes a valuable contribution to the knowledge base regarding approaches to teaching reading comprehension to students with autism. Implications for Educational Psychologists and other professionals are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available