MCPER is partnering with the University of California, Riverside, on a project to create a reading comprehension intervention specifically designed for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
The project, Reading Enhancements for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders (Project READ), received a $1.5 million federal grant, which will enable investigators to develop and test the intervention at elementary and middle schools in Texas and Southern California over a 3-year period.
The project’s investigators include Sharon Vaughn and Colleen Reutebuch of MCPER and Michael Solis, an assistant professor of special education at UC Riverside, who is also formerly of MCPER.
“The reading intervention takes into account many of the unique challenges of providing reading instruction to students with ASD by using interest-based text,” Solis told UCR Today. “Once students are more motivated to read about their interest area they are much more likely to be engaged and open to learning new skills that will help improve their ability to understand what they read.”
ASD is becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States, where it affects 1 in 68 children, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014.
Educators and parents have long expressed concern over the lack of proper reading instruction for children with ASD. Solis said he believes the problem stems from inadequate research on the topic, which he found was explored in only 12 studies over the last 3 decades.
For more information, visit Project READ's project page.