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New Research Demonstrates Gains in Emergent Reading Skills for Adolescents with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities
Date:4/14/2010

Don Johnston, publisher of assistive technologies and literacy software for students with special needs, has shared new research to demonstrate improvement gains in the emergent reading skills of adolescents with autism, intellectual and multiple disabilities. The research was conducted by Penelope Hatch, Ph.D., CCC-SLP at the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and proved that access to age/ability-appropriate books helped teachers improve reading skills.

(PRWEB) April 14, 2010 -- Don Johnston Incorporated, publisher of assistive technologies and literacy software for students with special needs, has shared new research to demonstrate improvements in the emergent reading skills of adolescents with autism, intellectual and multiple disabilities. The research was conducted by Penelope Hatch, Ph.D., CCC-SLP at the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The seven-week intervention studied 43 students in total, ages 12 to 21, with diverse ethnicities and exceptionalities. Dr. Hatch designed the study to determine the effects on students’ daily reading experiences using age/ability-appropriate text with two groups of teachers: those trained to teach comprehensive literacy instruction and teachers without this training. Each student group read Don Johnston’s Start-to-Finish Literacy Starters, a collection of computer and paperback books designed for non-readers and students reading at beginning levels. They read for 30 minutes a day in self-selected reading assignments, teacher-led instruction or a combination of the two practices.

“Traditionally, special education teachers kept their approach narrow when teaching students with significant disabilities to read,” said Dr. Hatch. “This approach typically involves using only sight words or learning the a
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