Monday, September 8, 2014

Helpful Literacy Tools & Resources for Autism

This past weekend, we had the great privilege of attending the 2014 World U.S. Asperger and Autism Association Conference in Kansas City, MO. What an outstanding event it was with 30 of the top autism speakers and experts in the world---all in one place!

Many parents, educators, occupational therapists and numerous other medical professionals from the Midwest and around the globe came to this one metropolitan center to hear these excellent speakers and authorities in order to return home better informed, re-energized and ready to help even more children and adults on the autism spectrum. The attendees were very dedicated individuals with exceptional patience and a unique commitment to teach and care for the growing numbers of individuals on the autism spectrum.

For this reason, we are honoring these special autism care givers with an article dedicated just to them. For the parents who have spent far too many sleepless nights caring for a sensory-challenged child with ASD, for the teachers who work tirelessly each day to help children with autism read with more success, for the medical professionals who treat these children, teens and adults and many other special care givers, we salute you ALL.

In their honor, we have written this article that includes many literacy tools and resources to help with the challenging work they do each day. We hope at least one item on the list here will help even in a small way to lighten their workload just a bit---if only for a little while.

Literacy Tools & Resources for Autism

Literacy Resources for Children on the Autism Spectrum
Compiled by Wendy J. Schroder, M.Ed.
A listing of books, curricula and programs, websites, software and iPad applications that can be used to promote literacy among children on the autism spectrum. This extensive listing can help practitioners or family members involved in teaching reading and enhancing comprehension.

The Virtues of the “Whisper Phone” for Independent Reading
Posted by Colleen Cadieux
Take a look at the “whisper phone” as an important tool for early and struggling readers. If you haven’t seen one yet, you should check out the simple instructions below, for making your own. The whisper phone supports the acquisition of phonemic awareness by allowing the student to hear his/her own voice while reading. Students are also able to focus on blending, proper sound use, and fluency in the text.

Adapting Books (for Children on the Autism Spectrum)
It is important for children with autism to have early exposure to literacy (reading and writing) activities. It can be beneficial to use books that are interactive. For best results books should be about something your child is interested in and can relate to. If the child is interested, he will be motivated. Repetition is key; reading the books over and over again reinforces learning. The activities presented here can help children to develop their communication abilities. Also,there are examples of how interactive literacy activities can be created.

Positively Autism---Teaching Literacy to the Student with Autism
This is a web page with a short list of links to literacy resources for autism.

Sites for Autistic Support Teachers
This large list of educational links for ASD educators includes literacy as well as some math resources.

The Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759)
From Brennan Innovators, LLC
Sensory-appealing and customizable reading tools and solutions for challenged readers of all ages.

APP---Overlays! (for OS X 10.8 or later---Price: $6.99)
Created by Abbie Gonzalez
Use to help with reading or sometimes to help following large tables and lists of data. Battle the wall of text, eyestrain and distractions with this on screen overlay to help you keep your place!
- Keep your place in huge walls of text, tables and lists.
- Pick the color, height and transparency that helps you read better.
- Use a lightly colored overlay or a completely solid line to help you keep focused. Pick what works for you!
- Easily access preferences from the menu bar icon.
- Works in full screen applications, and even over virtual machines.!/id868499627?mt=12

APP---Reading Focus Cards (for Macs & Windows PCs---Price: $5.99)
(Patent 8,360,779)
From Brennan Innovators, LLC
This DESKTOP app is the digital version of the physical Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759), solutions for struggling readers. This app for Windows PCs and Macs provides practical READING SUPPORT for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, autism and other conditions that can affect reading success. It promotes more FOCUSED online reading of almost ALL digital media (webpages, PDF files, Word docs, Excel spreadsheets & more.) In addition, the Reading Focus Card app is compatible with and supports touch-screen technology. The application can be moved on the screen over text by the fingers, mouse or arrow keys as needed.
1. For Windows PCs:
Visit Gumroad at
2. For Macs:
Visit the Mac App Store and search for "Read and Focus" or go directly to

For more information on customizable reading tools for all kinds of learners, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of:
Pixabay at and
Brennan Innovators, LLC at

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