Understanding Variability in Reading Comprehension in Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Interactions With Language Status and Decoding Skill

Courtenay Norbury, Kate Nation

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Although it is well recognized that reading skills vary in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), reasons for this variability are not well understood. We used the simple view of reading model to investigate both word decoding and text comprehension processes in two well-established subtypes within the autism spectrum, those with age-appropriate structural language skills and those structural language impairments. Generally, participants with language impairments performed less well than those with age-appropriate language skills. Word-level reading was a relative strength for both groups, although it showed declines with age. Comprehension weaknesses were especially marked among those with poor structural language skills. Reading outcomes in ASD are related to variations both in decoding and comprehension and in the oral language skills that support the development of these processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-210
JournalScientific Studies of Reading
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • autism spectrum disorder
  • reading

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