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• Groups of middle school students with autism and intellectual disabilities (IQ ranges 30–45) and complex communication needs participated.
• Aimed to teach letter-sound correspondence using the ALL Curriculum.
• All groups demonstrated increased levels of letter-sound association.
• Randomization tests demonstrated statistically significant differences between acquisition of target skills with and without treatment.
• IQ level and primary disability label did not appear to impact participant acquisition of skills.
For students who have severe and multiple disabilities including intellectual disability, complex communication needs, physical and/or sensory disabilities, and autism, there are many barriers to literacy acquisition. The purpose of this study was to teach letter-sound correspondence to small groups of students with significant intellectual disabilities and comorbid communication disorders using the ALL (Accessible Literacy Learning) curriculum. The eight participants in this study, who ranged in age from 11 to 16 years of age and had primary diagnoses of cerebral palsy, autism, Rett syndrome, Down syndrome, and intellectual disability, were placed into four groups for instruction in phonics. The instruction followed the scripted lessons of ALL Curriculum. There was moderate evidence of the functional relation between the use of the ALL Curriculum and participants’ progress towards letter-sound correspondence. Each group of participants demonstrated an increased performance in the treatment phase. The results of the visual analysis were supported by the statistically significant differences yielded by the randomization test analysis. Implications are discussed in terms of the importance of literacy instruction for students with all abilities and needs.
Journal: Research in Developmental Disabilities - Volume 56, September 2016, Pages 165–176