How much time should I spend in therapy working on literacy skills with children with ASD?
That varies depending on the setting. If it is a child coming into a private clinic situation, I usually see them 2 to 3 hours a week; 2 to 3 one-hour sessions. Those are long sessions, but I like to spend more time in intervention since it can take more time with these individuals. I work with their families as well. If I am going into a classroom, many times it is 20 minutes twice a week. You really have to try to get as much bang for your buck on that time as possible. This is why it becomes really important to bring in peer strategies, other educators, and the family. To borrow from Hillary Clinton, it does “take a village” to develop literacy in a child with autism spectrum disorder. It is something that usually has to be taught and is not going to be acquired on its own. If you have limited time, and you probably do, you need to partner with everyone and try some different strategies to develop literacy skills. It can take quite a long time, but I have found it to have big payoff, even when skills are developed incrementally.
Tina Veale is Program Director and Professor in the Speech-Language Pathology Program at Midwestern University. Dr. Veale teaches courses in research methods, child language disorders, autism spectrum disorders, neurology, and motor speech disorders. Clinically, she addresses the needs of clients with autism and other developmental disabilities.