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Relationships between reading profiles and narrative writing abilities in school-age children with autism spectrum disorder

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Abstract

Reading and writing are distinct skill areas that influence each other across development. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are noted to exhibit challenges in both skill areas, though relatively few studies have examined relationships between reading and writing skills. This study adopted a reading-to-writing framework to examine if school-age children differ in their narrative writing performance based on their categorically heterogeneous, empirically derived latent reading profiles. Sixty-four school-age (10–18 years old) children with ASD without co-occurring intellectual or severe communication difficulties completed a battery of reading and writing assessments, and reading profiles were examined using latent profile analysis with narrative writing skills, ASD symptom severity, and age included as auxiliary outcome variables. Average readers demonstrated significantly higher narrative writing performance compared to Below Average/Intact Receptive Vocabulary, Comprehension Disturbance, and Global Disturbance readers. Subgroups of readers with reading difficulties did not significantly differ on writing outcomes. While findings support that stronger readers appeared to be also stronger writers, questions remain about differences in the writing skills of individuals with ASD with specific or broad reading difficulties. Implications for researchers and practitioners are discussed regarding the need for continued examination into the reading and writing abilities of children with ASD.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Center for Special Education Research at the Institute of Education Sciences (R324A20168) and by the Lisa Capps Endowment for Research on Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Education from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California at Davis. Matthew C. Zajic received support during the drafting of this manuscript from a Postdoctoral Research Fellow Training Program grant from the National Center for Special Education Research at the Institute of Education Sciences (R324B180034). We thank all the families that participated in this research that made it possible.

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Zajic, M.C., Solari, E.J., Grimm, R.P. et al. Relationships between reading profiles and narrative writing abilities in school-age children with autism spectrum disorder. Read Writ (2020) doi:10.1007/s11145-020-10015-7

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Literacy
  • Reading
  • School-age
  • Writing