Articles on: Literacy

FAQ: Ed. Support Students/Centres & Students With Autism & PLD's SSP Program

FAQ 1: I work with students with Autism. What does PLD recommend to support these students?
All students with Autism are different. Some students with Autism will present with low literacy skills, whilst others high literacy skills. If however, the studnts with ASD have primary school levels of literacy skills, then PLD's SSP program will be appropriate.

Reading experts agree that explicit teaching of Structured Synthetic Phonics (SSP) is the most successful teaching method for children with autism to learn how to read and spell (Stylianakis & Little, 2013). SSP has also been found to be associated with significant imporvement in high school students' literacy performance (Hempenstall, 2008).

PLD recommends educators start with a placement screen and undertake training. The downlodable screening manuls are located here:

FAQ 2: Where do I start teaching students with Autism?
Start with a PLD Phonic-Based Spelling Placement Screen located in the PLD screening and tracking manuals. If the student's phonic-based skills exist within PLD's Stages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, PLD programs can be used to extend reading, spelling and writing phonic-based skills.

Students who score between 0-20% within Target 1 on the placement screen require further screening using the Difficulty Acquiring Stage 1 Target 1 Screen (also located within the screening and tracking manuals).

It is vital that instruction begins at the earliest point of difficulty and teachers should use the results of the screens to inform their literacy programs.

FAQ 3:Which training course is most relevant to the needs of my students?
In order to implement PLD effectively and with fidelity, it is highly recommended that educators undertake training. Each of our online courses demonstrate and explain the PLD programs. Seminars are run at the Perth-based training room. For more information on online courses or upcoming seminars, click through to the Professional Learning webpage. Following an online course, participants receive a discount promo code to purchase PLD programs relevant to the needs of your students.

If students are presenting with an inability to read, spell and write (but can recognise some HFWs), or who are very poor readers this course is recommended: Teaching Students Who Are Unable to Read, Spell & Write.
Regardless of their age, if the student is operating at a Junior Primary level this is the most relevant course: Synthetic Phonics in the Junior Primary
Regardless of their age, if the student is operating at a Middle & Upper Primary level this is the most relevant course: Synthetic Phonics and Beyond

Schoolwide Approach
Autism is very diverse and the range of literacy ability and needs is probably significant. To achieve consistent implementation of literacy skill development, training is typically required to facilitate a consistent approach. School Leaders may also wish to utilise some of the short courses to train support staff to assist with the implementation of PLD programs. The following courses may be of particular relevance:

Teaching the Alphabet in a Manner That Supports Reading, Spelling, & Writing
Raising Writing Standards Through the Medium of Dictation

The PLD Whole School Literacy Plan will be useful, particularly when students are operating at a primary school level. The plan outlines a general level of application and identifies which resources are relevant to the different ages. Rarely do schools purchase every single PLD title so our office staff are available to assist in the selection of programs that are most relevant to your context. However the online courses will also highlight the most relevant programs.

We are very happy to help if you have further questions:

Reference List
Hempenstall, K. (2008). Corrective Reading: An Evidence‐Based Remedial Reading Intervention. Australasian Journal of Special Education, 32(1), 23-54.
Stylianakis, C., & Little, C. (2013). Implementing a multilevel literacy program for a child with autism. Special Education Perspectives, 22(1), 7-14.

Updated on: 11/08/2022

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