Reading tips for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Whether your child has mild or severe Autism Spectrum Disorder, making reading a fun activity can help your child’s learning and social skills. Reading books together is a great way to connect with your child and engage them, developing their language and listening skills.

Infants and toddlers

Improve your child’s love of books
Having ASD impacts the way your child reacts to situations and people and how she looks at the world around her. Children with ASD often have trouble making eye contact and sharing their thoughts with words or gestures. Some children have a very short attention span when being read to or when reading. It is important to try reading for short periods of time, pointing and naming objects as you read. Use a lot of the pictures in the books to tell the story, making it interesting.

Other children with ASD may read very early and show intense interest in certain subjects and want to read everything they can on that topic. Whether your child has mild or severe ASD, making reading a fun activity can help your child’s learning and social skills.

If your child likes routine in her day, try reading a favorite book to help set the stage for nap time and bedtime. Work with your child’s occupational and / or speech therapist to discover techniques on using reading to help with social skills, new activities, and transitions.

Tips for reading
Each time you read to your child, you are helping the brain to develop. Reading aloud allows your child to hear your voice and listen to spoken words. Your child is also more likely to ask questions and learn about the world around her.

Try reading for a few minutes at a time at first, then build up the time you read together. Make books simple and very visual at first. If you can find books that have tactile stimulation, this will allow your child to hear, see and touch the book. In addition, thicker board books and pop up pictures can help build great tactile components into reading.

Try these:

  • Borrow books from the library that have photos and drawings of babies and people’s faces. This can help your child recognize emotions.
  • Read the same story again and again. The repetition will help her learn language.
  • Read aloud. Talk about the pictures and read the text.
  • Find books that have lots of repetition of phrases. Also find books with rhymes. Softly clap your hands and help your baby clap along to the rhythm.
  • Find books that have buttons your child can press that have sounds.


Preschool and school-aged children

Helping your preschooler or school-aged child love books
Remember, when you read to your child often and combine reading time with cuddle and play time, your child will link books with fun times together.

Here are some things you can try:

  • Sit on the floor next to your child.
  • Read aloud. Talk about the pictures and read the text.
  • Find books on topics that interest your child, such as books on animals or sports.
  • Find books that have buttons to press that make sounds. Borrow library audio books that your child can start or stop by pressing a button.

For more helpful tips on reading and improving your child’s developmental and social skills, call us today! We are about empowering the whole family to live life to the fullest.