The benefits of reading aloud has been well established by research. However, many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will have difficulty actively participating in shared reading activities due to social-communication difficulties that characterize the disorder. To maximize the potential for shared reading, there is a critical need for research to be conducted in homes of children with ASD to identify factors that can promote or inhibit shared reading experiences. In this project, we observe parents of children with ASD and parents of typically developing children reading books together, with careful attention to parent behaviors that can be taught to others to improve children’s active engagement in shared reading. This information will be used to guide the development of novel reading intervention strategies for children with ASD.
"I aim to improve educational outcomes for learners with autism by promoting high quality instruction in schools, homes, and the community."
Andrea had the opportunity to work with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) as a Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (LEND) fellow to design and develop a project that focused on determining the extent to which Minnesota Licensed Childcares are conducting standardized developmental screening. She will continue as a research assistant with Dr. Veronica Fleury and research team to investigate caregiver and child engagement in book reading for both children with typical development and those children with an autism spectrum disorder.
Kelsey’s research focuses on early intervention for preschoolers with autism, including an efficacy trial for an intervention program to increase their social and play skills. Currently, she is reviewing reading interactions between a caregiver and child with autism.
Erin’s research interests involve an understanding how students with ASDs gain literacy skills. She works with Dr. Fleury to learn how children engage in shared reading activities with their caregivers in order to make early literacy activities better for all children.