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Literacy in Nonspeaking Autistic Individuals


Spelling boards…”nonspeaking autistic individuals can purchase foundational literacy expertise.”

We implore you to learn and share this examine about spelling as a way of communication. We have solely excerpted the summary, go to the hyperlink beneath to learn your entire examine.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/13623613241230709

Jaswal, V. Okay., Lampi, A. J., & Stockwell, Okay. M. (2024). Literacy in nonspeaking autistic individuals. Autism, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613241230709

Literacy in Nonspeaking Autistic Individuals

Summary

Autistic individuals who can not converse threat being underestimated. Their incapacity to talk, together with different unconventional behaviors and mannerisms, can provide rise to limiting assumptions about their capacities, together with their capability to accumulate literacy. On this preregistered examine, we developed a process to analyze whether or not autistic adolescents and adults with restricted or no phrase speech (N = 31) have realized English orthographic conventions. Members performed a recreation that concerned tapping sequentially pulsing targets on an iPad as rapidly as they may. Three patterns of their response occasions counsel they know the right way to spell: (a) They had been quicker to faucet letters of the alphabet that pulsed in sequences that spelled sentences than letters or nonsense symbols that pulsed in intently matched however meaningless sequences; (b) they responded extra rapidly to pairs of letters in significant sequences the extra typically the letters co-occur in English; and (c) they spontaneously paused earlier than tapping the primary pulsing letter of a brand new phrase. These findings counsel that nonspeaking autistic individuals can purchase foundational literacy expertise. With applicable instruction and assist, it could be potential to harness these expertise to supply nonspeaking autistic individuals entry to written types of communication as a substitute for speech.

Lay summary

Many autistic individuals who don’t discuss can not inform different individuals what they know or what they’re pondering. Consequently, they won’t be capable of go to the colleges they need, share emotions with pals, or get jobs they like. It could be potential to show them to kind on a pc or pill as a substitute of speaking. However first, they must know the right way to spell. Some individuals don’t consider that nonspeaking autistic individuals can be taught to spell. We did a examine to see if they’ll. We examined 31 autistic youngsters and adults who don’t discuss a lot or in any respect. They performed a recreation on an iPad the place they needed to faucet flashing letters. After they performed the sport, we checked out how briskly they tapped the letters. They did three issues that individuals who know the right way to spell would do.

First, they tapped flashing letters quicker when the letters spelled out sentences than when the letters made no sense. Second, they tapped letters that often go collectively quicker than letters that don’t often go collectively. This exhibits that they knew some spelling guidelines. Third, they paused earlier than tapping the primary letter of a brand new phrase. This exhibits that they knew the place one phrase ended and the following phrase started. These outcomes counsel that many autistic individuals who don’t discuss can learn to spell. If they’re given applicable alternatives, they may be capable of be taught to speak by typing.

About one-third of autistic kids and adults can not talk successfully utilizing speech, even after years or many years of interventions centered on speech (DiStefano et al., 2016; Tager-Flusberg & Kasari, 2013). For causes that aren’t but understood, some don’t discuss in any respect, some can say a number of phrases or phrases, and others can converse however in a really restricted approach. Though some nonspeaking1 autistic individuals can be taught to make use of picture-based communication programs (e.g. Bondy & Frost, 2001), these programs are restricted in that they’re used primarily to make requests (Ostryn et al., 2008), the vocabulary obtainable to a consumer is chosen by somebody apart from the consumer, and the proof for his or her long-term efficacy shouldn’t be sturdy (Howlin et al., 2007). Sadly, most nonspeaking autistic persons are by no means supplied entry to an efficient, language-based different to speech, considerably limiting their instructional, employment, and social alternatives.

For individuals with acquired disabilities that make speech troublesome or unimaginable (e.g. aphasia following a stroke), writing can grow to be their most well-liked medium of expression (e.g. Thiel & Conroy, 2022). However fewer than 10% of individuals with congenital disabilities that considerably affect their means to talk (together with nonspeaking autism) are estimated to be literate (Foley & Wolter, 2010). In a single massive examine, college professionals reported that fewer than 5% of their nonspeaking college students from third to twelfth grade might write easy phrases or sentences (Erickson & Geist, 2016). Intrinsic components (e.g. perceptual, cognitive disabilities) might contribute to the difficulties some nonspeaking individuals face in buying literacy. However nonspeaking autistic individuals additionally face no less than three extrinsic challenges in buying literacy.

First, they’ve to beat deeply entrenched assumptions that as a result of they can not talk successfully utilizing speech, they don’t have the capability for language. Speech and language have traditionally been conflated (Gernsbacher, 2004): An individual unable to talk could also be assumed to lack the capability for symbolic thought that underlies language. However speech is just one means by which language may be expressed. Given applicable instruction and assist, deaf individuals, for instance, can be taught to convey their ideas utilizing signal language.

Second, most fashionable approaches to literacy instruction depend on speech. Suggestions for early literacy actions contain practising letter–sound correspondences and decoding printed phrases by sounding them out (Nationwide Studying Panel, Nationwide Institute of Baby Well being and Human Improvement, 2000). Some literacy actions that don’t depend on speech have not too long ago been developed for nonspeaking autistic kids (Benedek-Wooden et al., 2016; Goh et al., 2013)—for instance, laptop video games to show printed phrase recognition or root phrase identification (Serret et al., 2017). However literacy actions for nonspeaking individuals have but to be extensively adopted (Arnold & Reed, 2019; Copeland et al., 2016).

Lastly, many nonspeaking autistic individuals behave in methods which might be inconsistent with expectations about how somebody able to changing into literate would behave. Along with not having the ability to talk successfully utilizing speech, they might seem inattentive, have issue sitting nonetheless, or have interaction in impulsive or self-injurious behaviors (Tager-Flusberg et al., 2017). As adults, they might want assist in actions like tying their sneakers or crossing the road (Carter et al., 1998). They could have co-occurring motion disabilities that stop them from having the ability to imitate, maintain a pencil, mould their arms into indicators, or constantly comply with directions (Leary & Donnellan, 1995). Their cognitive means is vastly underestimated on standard intelligence assessments (Courchesne et al., 2015), lots of which require spoken responses. Consequently, nonspeaking autistic individuals might seem like so disabled as to be incapable of buying literacy (Mirenda, 2003).

It’s on this context that we performed the preregistered examine reported right here. We requested whether or not, regardless of the numerous challenges to buying literacy simply outlined, some nonspeaking autistic adolescents and adults have realized English orthographic conventions. To reply this query, we developed a process to measure individuals’ information of spelling that didn’t require that they converse or generate textual content. Members performed a recreation that concerned tapping sequentially pulsing targets on an iPad as rapidly as they may. We in contrast how rapidly they tapped targets on two sorts of trials: Trials the place letters of the alphabet pulsed in a sequence that spelled a sentence the experimenter had earlier stated aloud (e.g. “I ought to water the yard in the present day”) and trials the place letters or nonsense symbols pulsed in intently matched however meaningless sequences. We reasoned that if individuals knew the right way to spell, they’d be quicker to faucet targets on trials involving sentences that had earlier been stated aloud (as a result of they may predict the sequence of pulsing letters) than trials involving meaningless sequences (the place prediction was not potential).

As can be described beneath, the individuals in our examine had been unable to speak successfully utilizing speech regardless of having acquired, on common, over 15 years of speech remedy. In line with individuals and their households, the simplest technique of communication obtainable to them concerned spelling phrases and sentences by pointing to letters on a letterboard held vertically by a educated assistant. This methodology of communication has generated controversy due to doubts about nonspeaking autistic individuals’s capability for literacy (e.g. Fein & Kamio, 2014) and considerations about whether or not they’re pointing to letters they choose themselves or letters the assistant has directed them to (e.g. American Speech-Language-Listening to Affiliation (ASHA), 2018; however see Jaswal et al., 2020). The examine right here was not designed to judge the authenticity of this methodology of communication. However it’s related to that debate insofar because it investigates whether or not nonspeaking autistic individuals who use this methodology know the right way to spell.

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