The purpose of this project is to implement an evidence-based comprehension intervention with school-age children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) at risk for listening comprehension and reading comprehension difficulties. Building Vocabulary and Early Reading Strategies (Eager BVERS) is an evidence-based elementary-school intervention that targets listening comprehension, vocabulary, and writing to develop different comprehension skills in a structured scope and sequence. Children received direct, explicit small-group instruction based around high quality children’s books. Quantitative and qualitative data have been collected across multiple pilot studies in clinical and school settings. Pilot studies of the curriculum will continue, as well as data analyses of the multiple layers of data that have been collected including student level cognitive and academic outcomes, as well as a wealth of video coding data, as each intervention session has been recorded.
Children with ASD experience early and ongoing difficulties with comprehension abilities that can lead to prolonged reading, writing, and broader academic difficulties. However, the profiles of children with ASD experiencing academic difficulties are often different from the profiles of their peers, leading to the need to better understand how to address the academic learning challenges faced by children with ASD. The RAD Center is also currently investigating the role of ASD symptomatology, language, attention and processing in the development of reading related skills in children with ASD.
Utilizing the video-recorded observational data from the AIR+ project, Dr. Sparapani is leading the efforts to develop and test a measure to gauge student active participation within the reading intervention. The Measure of Active Participation in Reading Instruction (MAP-RI) is a comprehensive observational coding system that examines interactions between students and their tutors during the reading intervention. The goal of the MAP-RI is to identify and systematically measure key student and instructional components involved in active participation and learning during the reading intervention.
Analysis of instructor-student interactions within a listening comprehension intervention for children with autism: Implications for instructional effectiveness. Sparapani, N., Solari, E., McIntyre, N., Henry, A., & Zajic, M. (2017). Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Annual Conference, Halifax, Nova Scotia, July.
Pragmatic language use during story generation: The effects of a comprehension intervention for children with ASD (2017). Henry, A., Solari, E., McIntyre, N., Zajic, M., Sparapani, N., Grimm, R., & Mundy, P. Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Annual Conference, Halifax, Nova Scotia, July.
Narrative generation in children with ASD: The effects of a reading comprehension intervention on mental state use (2017). Henry, A., McIntyre, N., Zajic, M., Solari, E., & Mundy, P. International Meeting for Autism Research, San Francisco, California, May.
Strategic reading comprehension intervention for children with ASD: Developing an observational tool to identify active engagement and instructional support (2017). Sparapani, N., Solari, E., McIntyre, N., Zajic, M., Henry, A., & Mundy, P. International Meeting for Autism Research, San Francisco, California, May.