Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Off to IMFAR

I'm off, tonight, to London, to the International Conference for Autism Research, where my collaborator and I will be presenting a poster on computerized grammar instruction.

Lots of interesting talks, from neurology, to treatment, to vaccines.

If you have a burning question about autism that you'd like me to try to seek answers to at IMFAR, please post it here.


Catherine Johnson said...

oh my gosh, I'm sure I have tons of questions, all of which escape me at the moment.

I will mull.

Have a great week! And tell us all about it when you get back!

Catherine Johnson said...

I remembered my major question yesterday: phonics & phonemic awareness & reading.

Do autistic children learn to read visually?

Should one try to teach phonics & phonemic awareness?

lefty said...

Hi, Catherine,

No answer to your question so far, and I don't think there's a talk here that even comes close to addressing this.

So I'll offer my personal anecdote and two cents instead...

The anecdote: My autistic son is *very* receptive to phonemes--he and I talk about things like labio-dental fricatives--and I can't imagine how he could have learned to read other than through phonics. Even though he's deaf! (cochlear implanted, but completely deaf the first 1.6 years of his life, plus 9 months in utero)

My two cents: Given how much phonics instructions outways the pedagogical alternatives, it seems to me that not to try to teach this way, even to those autistic children who are visual, would be to burn many bridges.

This makes me wonder: can even the most visual kid on the planet learn to read--truly read--a written language that uses long strings of sound symbols through an entirely visual approach?