Useful Tips when reading with young children with ASD
Parents often talk to us about reading with their child being a difficult task. Sometimes the child may not stay with you while you read, or he/she may not answer your questions while reading. In the following, I will talk about some useful tips to make reading a successful and easy activity for parents to carry out at home.
Pick the right book
Building interest is the first step. You can begin by finding books with topics that your child is usually interested in. For example, if your child is interested in animals, pick a book about the zoo. If your child likes planets, look for a book about the solar system. Or you can also try to have a selection of books out for your child to choose from and see which ones he/she will pick to get a sense of the topics he/she likes.
Questions and instructions
When reading with children, we may find ourselves asking a lot of questions and expecting them to answer. We need to keep in mind that if the questions are beyond the child’s level, reading can easily become a tedious task than an enjoyable activity. To make reading more interesting, we can start with some questions or instructions that are simpler and interesting to your child. Below are a few examples:
- Let’s see who can find the (object) on the page faster!
- Let’s pretend to be (animal/ character).
- What is this called?
- Let’s do this together (have the child copy an action)!
Of course, when the child is more ready and engaged, you can slowly increase the difficulty of the questions.
Make it fun
Often the original storylines of the books may be over complicated to our young readers. Including some fun elements while you read can make it less of a chore and more of an interesting activity! Here are some tips:
- Make some funny sounds and have your child do it together with you.
- Act out the funny scenes in the story.
- Use some props as you read together.
- Draw out the characters your child likes while you read.
- Take turns to read aloud.
Remember that we can always be creative and alter the content of the story to the child’s level. Be as fun and creative as you can be!
Find the right time and place
Right time: Schedule a reading time everyday to read with your child as a habit. Don’t be overly ambitious but start with a shorter duration. Keep the child successful during that period of time. If necessary, small rewards can be given for staying with you and finishing a few pages at the beginning.
Right place: Having a specific space to help build reading habit. Child can warm up faster in a space he/she is familiar with. Besides, away from distractors like his favorite toys can help the child be more concentrated on reading and make the process easier.
Keep in mind that reading more is not the goal. The key is to make reading more of an interesting activity than a boring task. Reading can be very fun and enjoyable if done the right way!
When a child likes reading, many different training programs are able to carry on easily during storytime. Here is an example:
Teaching Before / After concept by using books & stories:
Information provided by:
Eunice LukAutism Partnership Behavioral Consultant, MSc, BCBA
|Ms. Eunice Luk is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from St. Cloud State University. She graduated from the University of Hong Kong with first class honors in Bachelor of Social Sciences, majoring in Psychology. Ms. Luk joined Autism Partnership in 2011 and began working directly with students in one-on-one and group therapy sessions. She is experienced in parent training and staff training. She has also assisted in conducting workshops for parents and other professionals in Hong Kong. Ms. Luk receives ongoing training from Dr. Angel Au and Mr. Toby Mountjoy.|
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