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Engaging Adolescent Learners With ASD and CCN in Literacy Instruction: Effects of Adapted Instruction

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No single intervention will have as dramatic effect on a student’s future as a solid foundation in literacy. Examples of an evidence-based literacy instruction for letter-sound correspondence (LCS) and sight words, for individuals with severe disabilities, ASD, and CCN will be highlighted and discussed using case studies and videos.

Research Aim: Two studies were conducted to investigate the impact of adapted literacy instruction on the acquisition of LSCs and sight words, by adolescent learners with CCN and ASD, who have very limited LSC and sight word knowledge (less than ten LSCs and sight words).

Method: Both studies utilized single subject multiple probe designs, across behaviors (either letter sound sets or sight words sets), to evaluate the effectiveness of the adapted literacy instruction.

Results: These studies contribute new research to a limited research base related to reading instruction for learners with severe disabilities, ASD, and CCN. These studies support positive outcomes of adapted evidence-based instruction for older learners who are currently struggling to make progress with their literacy goals or no longer participating in literacy instruction due to lack of progress. Learners in these studies were able to identify over 10 LSCs and 10 sight words, post instruction; more than doubling their previous current levels of performance in a few months.

Conclusion: Overall, these studies suggest that evidence-based, adapted instructional techniques can be effective in teaching LSCs and sight words as a first step toward the development of literacy skills- even for older individuals with severe disabilities, ASD, and CCN.


Jessica Caron    
Penn State University
United States

Janice Light    
Penn State University
United States


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