Back to PEPSA Day
Supporting Reading Comprehension in Children with ASD


This session addresses supporting reading comprehension in children with ASD. The session begins with a brief discussion of how executive functioning, theory of mind, and central coherence contribute to reading comprehension. It will present two case examples illustrating various reading comprehension strategies taken from the autism and reading comprehension literature. Instructional strategies that address vocabulary, anaphoric referencing main topic, and summarization will be discussed. The presentation will conclude another case example exemplifying ideas to use literacy as a framework to address comprehension social communication needs. The discussion will include unique considerations for targeting reading comprehension and related literacy skills in children with ASD through lecture, case study presentation, videos, and learning activities.

About the Presenter

Sylvia Diehl

Sylvia Diehl

Sylvia F. Diehl, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is recently retired from the University of South Florida (USF) Department of Communication Sciences in Tampa, Florida, where she taught courses in autism, pediatric language and augmentative and alternative communication and was the team leader in the language/phonology clinic. She was also a member of the USF Interdisciplinary Center for Evaluation and Intervention team, which offers guidance to Florida Public School Systems regarding children with complex needs. She is the founder of the USF Friends’ Group at USF, which provides social communication intervention along with parent training to children with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Diehl has supported children with autism spectrum disorders and their families for over thirty years and has a long history of clinical experience, including public school settings, university settings, and clinical settings. She has been recognized by the Early Childhood Council and received the Florida Speech and Hearing Association Clinical Career Award. She frequently consults for school systems and conducts workshops locally, nationally, and internationally. She has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters, along with continuous education courses for the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Her research and publication interests focus on consistent frameworks to support children with ASD in classroom settings.