Going Beyond Literal Interpretations for Individuals with Autism

Reading is about imagination and learning. It is about discovering new things about yourself, and sharing with others. Books have the power to transform thoughts, and friendships. Reading a book is so much more than the words on the page.

Individuals with an autism spectrum disorder can sometimes get stuck in very literal interpretations. Things like jokes, idioms, puns, and sarcasm can be difficult to decipher. When working with students, we always try to present things in black and white – gray areas can be confusing and cause anxiety.

Today’s adapted book focuses on teaching the gray areas and stretching literal interpretations. We chose the book My Colors by Rebecca Emberly. We chose this book because it is typically a book to teach colors, but we want to expand thinking beyond what is on the page. To adapt the book, we first attached a few pieces of velcro to each page.

blue fin

We attached a laminated sheet of paper onto the back cover of the book, and added strips of velcro. We then found images on The Noun Project of things that go together with items on each page, and velcroed them on the white sheet.

To use the books, students go through and match the things that go together with picture on each page. For example, on this page there is a picture of a fish and the student has matched “water” and “fin”.

fin

It is important to try and find images to match that are exclusive to each page, otherwise students may get confused on later pages when they do not have the correct matches!

To increase the difficulty, you could have more images to match on each page. Or, you could have students write in their own words that go with each page in the book.

Any book that has one picture on each page works well for this type of adapted book. Here are five books we love for six dollars or less!

http://amzn.to/1WnUmnA

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