Autism & learning letter sounds


Autism & Montessori Q&A

My son is 4 years old and is on the autism spectrum, “high functioning” although I don’t think that phrase is used often anymore. I am teaching him with the Montessori approach and sequence at home. It is very challenging to get him engaged in the material, but when I do it typically is with the math materials, which is wonderful! However, I have noticed he seems to shy away from anything to do with letters. His oral language skills are good, but still developing- he was a “late” talker.

What I’ve observed is that he doesn’t hear the parts of words. If by chance I do get him interested in “I spy”, he either doesn’t really understand the game or won’t answer correctly- and so I will quickly change to something else as to not make him feel discouraged (I learned that very early on)

Should I just completely forgo segmenting sounds right now? Maybe he is just not ready yet.

Do you think that it is possible that he may catch on eventually? Or do some children have to learn to read by memorizing words and not the phonetic sounds?

Julia says:

Your son is so fortunate that you are focused on and careful about his education. I think you are both right to follow your son's lead and at risk because he can not quite lead you where he needs to go.
I would say, definitely do not stop sound work! Instead, work it into your daily life in every way you can. Sing songs together. Recite rhymes, Articulate words with rhythm. Really go to town with all of the possibilities for spoken language work that will draw his awareness to the cadence, rhythm, and sounds of our language.
If he is frustrated with I Spy, I'm wondering if you are really starting at the first level of the game. Are you asking him to spy something on his foot that starts with the sound shhh for example? Something where he can't fail? You've probably already read the blog post on the sound game but that's my first question for you.
June 17, 2022 by Julia Volkman
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