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Topic: Looking for suggestion

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Subject: Looking for suggestion
Date Posted: 4/12/2013 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2005
Posts: 984
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I am a mom of a girl that is 16 and a Junior in high school that has Aspergers and ADD and they informed me yesterday that she has a reading comprehension level of a 6th grader (don't understand why they just figured it out this year).  Can anyone recommend any sites to help work with her on that?

Date Posted: 4/13/2013 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2011
Posts: 111
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As a general rule, the best way to increase reading level is to read more.  The only thing websites and such may be able to add to this is to teach her how to figure out the answer certain question types.

Based on what I've seen with my high schoolers over the years, she's far from alone in this.  Don't fret too much.

Good luck!

Date Posted: 7/6/2013 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2010
Posts: 6
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My daughter is a year ahead of yours and also has aspergers. 

The best way to improve her reading comprehension is to have her read, read, read - about things that she is interested in.  Her comprehension may be due to some vocabulary issues in what she is reading.  My daughter always wants to know the meanings of words that she doesn't know, then she rereads the passage and substitutes the synonym or definition.  She does that 2 or 3 times to help her learn the word. 

Your local library should be able to recommend some books that may interest her at her reading level and one level up.  Remember the rule of thumb for reading is    :if you are reading for enjoyment - read at a comfortable reading level. 

My daughter reads Shakespeare and other age appropriate books, but still enjoys reading primary books, because of the pictures.  (Remember kids with aspergers tend to be very visual.)  I got her started on age appropriate graphic novels in our local library and she tends to read those now instead of primary books.

Another thing to consider about your daughters reading comprehension is that comprehension questions in upper grades want students to infer the answer  and draw conclusions.  This is a skill that students with aspergers need lots of additional instruction to acquire.  Aspergers kids tend to be very literal in their thinking and comprehension.  If the story doesn't say it, they don't know.

Hope this helps.



Date Posted: 9/8/2013 10:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2005
Posts: 4,469
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I agree, reading more is where it's at. What are her interests? There are books on just about everything available--including tons and tons of fiction. Read with her a lot. Read aloud to her, with her reading along silently. Dissect what you read. Discuss themes, subject matter, whatever. There may be sites to help, but I'd pick the brains of the English teachers, early literacy teachers and librarians, they're going to be your very best resources. My Aspie hated reading until he figured out he could read fantasy. That's his niche. Mostly he loves math, but fantasy is what he loves to read(and he reads everything in that genre--I don't censor, so some of it may be risque--but he's also a high schooler, so I doubt it's more risque than what he hears in the halls). 

Date Posted: 10/6/2013 12:19 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,848
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My grandson is 11 years old and has high functioning Autism. He takes advanced classes at his middle school. Nevertheless he still needs supervision and support when reading fiction. Non-fiction is pretty black and white therefore he has much less trouble with it. The area that he has difficutlty is typical. It is dialogues and descriptions of human behavior. This is where his comprehension of human interaction is challenged. It is especially challenged because his classes are fairly fast paced and he has to keep up with the other students. It wasn't until recently, in the last two years that this became apparent. Before that his language development was much more delayed and it was hard to tell whether the problem was vocabulary, syntax or semantics was the problem. Now that he is older, more mature and more experienced socially, his challenge with narratives involving human interaction in reading is more obvious. Looking retrospectively, I see he has had this problem all the time. I wish, when he had his first and second neuro-psycho-educational evaluation in Kindergarden and third grade, they would have counselled us on this reading comprehension problem. I believe that all students with high functioning Autism have the same problem in varying degrees, because all of them have different degrees of difficulties understanding human interaction.  I have learned that having a problem understanding other peoples intentions and perspectives is a hallmark of Autism, so it stands to reason they would have difficulty with reading comprehension in htis area. I started teaching my grandson the concept that everyone has a "mind" a long time ago, then came teaching him that other people had different minds, different thoughts and different perspectives. He used to believe everyone knew what he was thinking and feeling and everyone's thinking and feeling was the same as his. I developed all sorts of games for us to play to teach him about "different people-different ideas". Eventually it sunk in and he intellectually understood, but still struggled with the concept. I didn't connect the dots about his reading untill years later. This summer he entered sixth grade and had a summer reading assignment worth two grades. He was to pick a book from three choices and do a hands on project on it. He picked "Anything but Typical". It is about a child with high functioning Autism and his experiences in middle school. I think he selected the book, because he felt like he could relate to the main characters. He wasn't prepared for what was a big reading challenge. The main character had high functioning Autism alright, but not like him. Not a surprise to me. No one child with Autism is the same. He also didn't understand the reactions the other students and adults in the book had towards the main character. This was not unlike his life experience. He often doesn't understand why people are the way they are. Fortunately, it was summer and we had plenty of time to explore the characters of the story. He learned a lot about human behavior. But, mostly he learned to read inferential material. There was a lot unsaid in this book. He had to figure out what each character was thinking or why they behaved the way they did. He also had a great time with his mom and boyfriend making his project. It was a diorama. The icing on the cake. It involved body language. Clay characters in a scene from the book. The reason I'm telling you about this is I believe you may find your child to be a little like my grandson. You may be able to help your child explore books as I did. You may his reading comprehension improve as we did.

Of course you need to read, read, read with your daughter. That's a given. Nothing is a substitute for learning skills. The challenge is learning to interpret inferences of human behavior that I think plauges our children. It is in this area you may have to take the time to carefully monitor your daughter's understanding. I suggest you supervise and ask quesitons constantly of your child when she reads. I do this every day. I know that this age is a hard one. I have to be patient and understand my grandson needs his space, but not at the expense of learning what he needs to learn. We have an honest relationship. he knows what he needs to learn and why. Sometimes we run into a road block or two, but generally he is receptive, although he won't admit it. :)

Good luck to you and your daughter!smiley