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Dialogic Reading for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Review of AAC Needs and Interventions

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Aim: This presentation will provide the results of a systematic review of dialogic reading (DR) interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Information on the participants, the effects of the dialogic reading interventions, and the role of AAC in the dialogic reading interventions are included.

Methods: A systematic review was completed to find published research on the use of dialogic reading for children with ASD. Studies were coded for participants’ ages and communicative skills and the role of AAC within different DR interventions. Effect sizes were calculated for the impact of the DR intervention on receptive and expressive communication skills.

Results: Dialogic reading had large positive effects on the receptive communication performance of the children with ASD, but only moderate positive effects on their expressive communication performance. A possible explanation for this finding is that although most participants were identified as having complex communication needs, the DR interventions only provided means for participants to use AAC to demonstrate comprehension (i.e., receptive communication). Participants were generally required to use speech for expressive communication acts.

Conclusions: Dialogic reading interventions that incorporate the use of AAC are likely to have positive effects on receptive communication for children with ASD who have complex communication needs. However, further research is needed to adapt dialogic reading to support the use of expressive communication for children with autism spectrum disorders.


Susannah Boyle    
Pennsylvania State University
United States

Shelley Chapin    
Pennsylvania State University
United States

David McNaughton    
Pennsylvania State University
United States


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