Much of what is known about autism and literacy instruction is derived from studies including monolingual English-speaking children. Yet, less than one-fifth of the world’s population are English speakers. This review examines the research on literacy instruction for children with autism learning to read and write in languages other than English. A systematic search of the literature identified potentially relevant publications, a relatively small number of these met inclusion criteria. The included studies investigated instruction methods targeted at word reading and spelling, reading comprehension, and written expression for autistic children learning to use alphabetic, syllabary or logosyllabary writing systems. Autistic children benefitted from literacy instruction methods designed for typically developing children. However, some studies showed that additional skills and supports may be required. The included studies also highlight some potential differences in effective instruction practices used when working with autistic children learning alphabetic, syllabary and logosyllabary writing systems. Studies tended to include small samples. We hope this review will bring increased awareness and research efforts in the area of autism and global literacy. Lay abstract: Many autistic children across the globe speak languages other than English. However, much of the research about teaching children with autism to read and write is derived from studies including people who speak English and no other languages. Here, we review the research on teaching children with autism to read and write in languages other than English. We did this because the world’s languages, and the ways they are represented in written form, vary greatly. A broader overview that encompasses languages other than English can help us better understand how learning to read and write can be supported for autistic children around the world. The studies included in our review highlight some potential differences in effective literacy teaching for autistic children learning to read and write using different writing systems. The studies we reviewed tended to include relatively small samples of autistic children, among other limitations. We hope that our review will increase awareness and research efforts in the area of autism and global literacy.
- autism spectrum disorder
- languages other than English