Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder often show an unwavering focus on a specific interest, a phenomenon known as having a "perseverative interest."
Early research conducted by Michael Solis, an assistant professor of special education at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education, finds that embedding the perseverative interest of a child with ASD into reading used during instruction may increase the child's reading comprehension. Solis and colleague Farah El Zein, an assistant professor at Cleveland State University, designed an intervention that embeds a child's perseverative interest within a particular story; for example, if the child is focused on cars, they included multiple references to cars within a text. They then tested whether or not the child's comprehension of the text was improved.
Preliminary findings of three single-case design studies show that embedding readings of perseverative interests improves engagement during reading instruction and leads to an improvement in performance on curriculum-based measurements of reading comprehension.
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