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Focused Education Improves Autism, ADHD

Emerging research suggests structured and concentrated teaching can improve literacy and comprehension in challenged school-aged children.

Experts call for teachers and parents to be vigilant in detecting difficulties with language comprehension, reading and spelling in children and young people with autism, Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD.

“It is important that pupils are offered the support to which they are entitled,” says Jakob Asberg in a new thesis at the University of Gothenburg.

“Pupils with these neuropsychiatric disorders are often reported as having problems with spoken and written activities. However, relatively little research has been carried out within the field.

“Considering how important such skills are for coping independently in school and in working life and society in general, it is of great importance that we become better informed about these issues,” Åsberg, who is publicly defending his thesis in psychology, said.

Among other things, the findings in the five studies that comprise the thesis demonstrate that pupils with autism or Asperger’s syndrome often have problems with comprehension, in particular with continuous texts such as stories.

However, it was common that these children and young people were able to read individual words correctly and with a satisfactory flow, even though there was significant variation within the group in this respect.

“In one study we worked in conjunction with school staff and tested whether it was possible for a group of pupils with autism or Asperger’s syndrome to improve in understanding the content of stories through structured and concentrated teaching.

“We based it on the idea that teaching such as this should make it clear to the pupils what reading and listening with understanding actually involves. It was encouraging that the pupils’ test results improved after four weeks teaching.

“There does therefore appear to be potential for positive change, even though the results in this sub-study should still be regarded as provisional,” says Åsberg.

Another study focused specifically on girls with autism or ADHD. It emerged in this study that girls with ADHD frequently have more general problems when it comes to dexterity in writing.

“Both reading and spelling words and reading comprehension seem to be difficult for a lot of children with ADHD.

“It is important that teachers, parents and other professionals are vigilant regarding the occurrence of such difficulties and that the pupils are offered the support to which they are entitled”, says Åsberg.

Source: University of Gothenburg

Focused Education Improves Autism, ADHD

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Focused Education Improves Autism, ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 16, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/11/13/focused-education-improves-autism-adhd/9556.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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