Autism and Reading

Today I want to talk about autism and reading, specifically how Jack and Lily learnt how to read. Jack starting school life at a SEN school, before moving to a school specifically for Autism. Whilst Lily is at a mainstream school. So there School life is very different.

Jack was never expected to do anything academically, and had proved people wrong. With how much he has actually been able to do. Parents of school aged children here in the UK, I’m sure will know all about reading diaries. And the Biff, Chip and Kipper books. Other parts of the world I’m sure will have something similar. We never had any of that with Jack. He’s never had homework, or been given reading books to do.

He can read though, something that came out of the blue, a few years ago now. He still has no set reading work though, as making it school work would be counter productive. We just allowed him to read at his own pace. The main place he was reading was on computer games, or the internet. He’d always be asking for things to be read for him, then one day I realised he’d stopped asking. With no external pressure, and because he wanted too, he had basically taught himself.

Making progress with Lily

That last bit is the very important point I want to make with this post. Lily has the reading diary, the spelling tests and the homework. This is the area that has been the cause of the problems we’ve had, with Lily and school. Reading and writing is something that Lily finds very difficult, and has caused her a lot of anxiety.

During the months of lockdown, we didn’t put any pressure on her to read. I’m general we didn’t do a huge amount of structured homeschooling. We did lots of different activities that were just part of the day. Not making a big point of this being school time, and putting pressure on it. It was a stressful enough time anyway, without adding more stress to everyone.

I know Natalie was especially worried about Lily falling even further behind. Fast forward to Lily coming home for the first time with a new reading book, and she sat with Mum and confidently read through the book first time. This has NEVER happened before. It would take a whole week, for Lily to get to grips with a book. We are talking roughly 15 pages, with 4 lines to a page maximum. The next when she came, I found her in her bedroom reading through a new book by herself. It was one of those parenting moments, where you are just bursting with pride.

Lily reading

SEN children learn at their own pace

When you have a child with special educational needs, one of the first things you have to come to terms with. Is that they won’t follow the rule book of expectations. The certain points children are supposed to be at, for each school year aren’t important. If you have family and friends with children the same age, who are way ahead. Or have younger children who over take yours, then try not to worry about it.

I know it’s natural to worry, as we all want the best for our children. But it doesn’t do anyone any good, trust me, I have been there. So whether it’s autism and reading, or any other type of school work. Give your child the support they need, without piling on the pressure. Then they will achieve the best that they can, and whatever that is, is great.

If you yourself have any tips or success stories when it comes to autism and reading, we’d love to hear them. Leave us a comment below. As always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

My name is Adam. I live with my partner Natalie, and our 2 children Jack and Lily. Both children are autistic, it is now my mission to show what life around autism is like. Spread the awareness and gain the acceptance that autistic people deserve.

18 thoughts on “Autism and Reading

  • September 17, 2020 at 9:52 pm
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    How lovely that both your children have naturally fallen into reading in a way they’re comfortable with. My older son is a total bookworm. His little brother has had a slower start, at the start of lockdown he would cry and moan his way through 4 pages of really easy words. We gave him loads of encouragement and praise and by the end of the summer he was reading books two levels above where he started with mostly confidence and some sounding out. Back to school a week and he was crying again about three letter words – all his confidence had evaporated. So we’re just trying to encourage and keep telling him what a great job he’s doing. He’ll get there.

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  • September 18, 2020 at 11:13 am
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    This is great that they have both taken it upon themselves to read. I completely agree you shouldn’t pressure them, they will get there at there own pace.

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    • September 18, 2020 at 7:49 pm
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      Thank you, there’s far too much pressure on kids these days, unfortunately

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  • September 18, 2020 at 2:49 pm
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    So good to hear Lily’s doing so well, and Jack is always proving people wrong 😊

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    • September 19, 2020 at 9:36 pm
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      Yeah. Theres far too much pressure, from a really young age too.

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  • September 19, 2020 at 10:36 pm
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    Awe that is so awesome that they learned to enjoy reading at their own pace. I think that is so important rather than forcing kids to read. I hope they continue to enjoy it. I have always enjoyed reading and even to this day one of my favorite things to do is read a good book with a nice cup of coffee!

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    • September 20, 2020 at 4:12 pm
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      Thank you, Reading will be more enjoyable if it’s not forced and pressured, and a better way to get kids reading.

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  • September 20, 2020 at 1:05 pm
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    Great to kiddos making their own success 😊

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    • September 20, 2020 at 4:12 pm
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      Cheers buddy 😊

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  • September 21, 2020 at 2:23 am
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    Very interesting to read about how they both had such different experiences with it and developed in their own ways. It must have been such a relief to see Lily’s improvement when you were worried about her falling behind!

    Sophie

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    • September 21, 2020 at 4:19 pm
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      It definitely has been a relief, and she’s doing really well at the moment 😃

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  • September 21, 2020 at 12:48 pm
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    You and your wife are amazing parents. Your kids are lucky to have you!

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  • September 21, 2020 at 4:15 pm
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    That’s brilliant that they’re both enjoying reading under their own steam, so encouraging. I don’t know about autism tips but I do know that Flora loves graphic novels, she’s currently working her way through all the Tintin books (which are for adults, not children) and loving them. She’s always been a confident reader who reads what she wants and for pleasure, but I’m sure allowing her to choose her own books in the early days was part of that. Sounds like Jack and Lily are the same 🙂

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    • September 21, 2020 at 4:24 pm
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      Thank you 😊 Jack loves his Marvel and DC, so I’ve got some of those in. I’ve not seen him read them yet…..but I have been 🤣

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  • September 22, 2020 at 7:19 am
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    Such a heart warming story of what kids can achieve without pressure , well done jack and lily xx

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