Reluctant Readers and Autism

Reading can be such a joyous and special time to escape into another world and learn about so many things around us. Sharing reading with a child can be a great way to connect and learn about social skills and ideas that are new to the child. Unfortunately, for many children, reading does not come easily and thus they are reluctant to read or, at the least, must be coaxed into reading more. Many children with ASD often have trouble with reading and relating to characters or plot lines. Here are a few ideas to help with reluctant readers as well as a few series that he or she may find interesting.

  • For younger readers who do not have the attention span needed for longer books, choose age appropriate books with lots of pictures and a catchy rhyme or plot. In addition keep reading time short and at a time when they are most likely to pay attention. Build up minute each time you read together. Make it fun!
  • Read aloud and talk about what you learned or the characters that you like or dislike and why.
  • For school age children, find books that are on a topic that interests them whether it is Minecraft, Barbies or the Solar System. Letting them choose puts them in control.
  • Using audio books while a child follows along can take the pressure off while still providing vocabulary and a plot.
  • For older children, try books that they can relate to with characters their age such a Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Timmy Failure series. Reluctant readers who are on the spectrum may benefit from shorter chapter books that have pictures that relate to the story and have straightforward story lines. Avoid stories that have subtext or double meanings as it may get confusing.
  • Remember that reading is reading, so it doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as they are enjoying it and are invested in it. If that means graphic novels or books that drive you nuts, so-be-it!