Emergent Literacy in Children With Autism: An Exploration of Developmental and Contextual Dynamic Processes Purpose This investigation describes emergent literacy skills, print motivation, and home literacy environments in a linguistically diverse group of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Method Emergent literacy skills were directly assessed in 41 children between the ages of 4 and 8 years. Parent report was solicited to ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2012
Emergent Literacy in Children With Autism: An Exploration of Developmental and Contextual Dynamic Processes
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elizabeth Lanter
    Radford University, Radford, VA
  • Linda R. Watson
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Karen A. Erickson
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Daniel Freeman
    Radford University, Radford, VA
  • Correspondence to Elizabeth Lanter: elanter@radford.edu
  • Daniel Freeman is now at the University of Louisville Hospital, Louisville, KY
    Daniel Freeman is now at the University of Louisville Hospital, Louisville, KY×
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Gary Troia
    Associate Editor: Gary Troia×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Normal Language Processing / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2012
Emergent Literacy in Children With Autism: An Exploration of Developmental and Contextual Dynamic Processes
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2012, Vol. 43, 308-324. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2012/10-0083)
History: Received October 4, 2010 , Revised March 31, 2011 , Accepted January 17, 2012
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2012, Vol. 43, 308-324. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2012/10-0083)
History: Received October 4, 2010; Revised March 31, 2011; Accepted January 17, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

Purpose This investigation describes emergent literacy skills, print motivation, and home literacy environments in a linguistically diverse group of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Method Emergent literacy skills were directly assessed in 41 children between the ages of 4 and 8 years. Parent report was solicited to provide additional information concerning the children’s emergent literacy skills, as well as their print motivation and home literacy environments. The achievements of children with differential language abilities were compared, and associations among the children’s language and emergent literacy abilities were explored.

Results Narrowly, children with typical language achieved significantly higher scores on an emergent literacy composite than those with mild-to-moderate or severe language impairments; broadly, these scores were highly correlated (ρ = .56) with the children’s language. Skill performance was varied but was characterized by relative strengths in discrete skills, such as letter name identification, and weaknesses in more holistic skills, such as print functions. Parents generally described the children as being motivated by print materials and the home environments as offering high levels of parent–child engagement in literacy activities.

Conclusion Profiles were associated with language and were illustrated by heterogeneity with potentially unequal achievements between code- and meaning-based skills. Implications for speech-language pathologists and other educators are provided.

Acknowledgments
Much appreciation is extended to the families who participated in this study. This study was supported by internal awards from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a James J. Gallagher Dissertation Award.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access