In this product review of ASD Reading, a learn to read program developed especially for children on the autism spectrum, you will find out if this program was “the answer” for my 5-year-old and 7-year-old children by reading this article.
This post contains affiliate links. My website is my job, and helps to support our large family. If you decide to buy something you see mentioned here, I would be so thankful if you clicked through my links so I can receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you! Please read my full disclosure.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”cuUpa” via=”yes” ]In this product review of ASD Reading, a learn to read program developed especially for children on the autism spectrum, you will find out if this program was “the answer” for my 5-year-old and 7-year-old children by reading this article.[/ctt]
Product Review of ASD Reading
About ASD Reading
ASD reading is a program you can use on your computer to help your children learn to read. You don't have to have another program before you start this or know your ABCs or letter sounds, all children, even non-verbal, can use it. It teaches the following six areas of reading: Phonics (Sounds), Sequencing, Writing, Meaning, Grammar, and Comprehension. There are graphics, audio and animation to reinforce the meaning of words. Written and spoken language are seamlessly linked so that one mirrors and reinforces the other. The instruction is customized to the student's specific skills and needs and are changeable to adjust accordingly. It assesses the child's skills for you and overcomes error patterns and difficulties. This program comes from the work of Dr. Marion Blank, a literacy and language expert who developed and served as Co-Director of the Columbia University Developmental Neuropsychiatry Program for Autism and Related Disorders. Here is a short video about it…
Using the program
My five-year old son, Mason, has exhibited traits of borderline Asperger's (not diagnosed – pediatrician says he's fine, but I am a mom of seven and know him pretty well), which is a disorder on the autism spectrum so I was eager to see how this would help him and I have a seven year old struggling reader (who doesn't sit still for long enough to learn) so I was hoping maybe a computer program would help her as she seems to sit a little longer at the computer than with books. I was given access to this program for a year for two students.
When you begin this program, you need to type in your child's information and then have each child practice with the keyboard and mouse and have them take an assessment test so the program knows where to place them in the beginning. You, as a parent, still have control if you feel your child needs to be placed at a different level, you can do this at any time. It is important to not interfere during the placement test (and the program will remind you of this) so the child is placed at the right level.
It has a nice guide to help you teach the mouse and keypad to your children. Mason was confused at first, because on the computer screen, the letters were in lower case but on our keypad they are capital letters only. With his eye problems that he needs glasses for, he had a difficult time looking all the way down at the keyboard and back up at the screen and then back down to double-check, even with the time turned as high as 200%, it's just too hard for him because of his eye trouble. We found a happy medium with having the keypad on the screen and having him use the mouse to click the letter rather than try to look down at his fingers to find the right key. It is really nice that this program has been made to adjust to the needs of your child.
Mason enjoyed the bubble popping game to help him learn his lower case letters and find where they are on the keypad. In this “game”, as Mason calls it, the fish is on a bubble and floats and you have to pop it by pressing or clicking the right key on the keyboard to make it pop before it goes off the screen. We had to adjust his response time to be higher so he has time to hunt for the letter and click it. You can adjust the speed at any time, even several times in one session, to get it right.
One of the things that is done, is that the program will show a word at the top of the screen. For the screen below, the word was “the”. The word was then taken away and the child was asked to find the one that could make the word “the”. If it takes a while, or if they click the wrong one, additional hints will be given. This was a new way of learning to read for me since I have been teaching homeschool for 15 years and just haven't seen it yet. But you have to remember that current reading education relies on methods that do not work for students on the spectrum or slow-learning readers with the result that the majority never gain the ability to read with fluency or understanding. So yes, this is a new method, but sometimes we need things explained in a different way to understand them. In trying to have things explained in a new way, I have spent quite a bit of money over the years buying and trying different programs over the years to see “what will work for this child”.
I was surprised when I was reading a story in the evening and Mason pointed to the word “some” and said it correctly. He has a lot to learn but how exciting that he is starting to know them. Miranda is an animal lover and she enjoyed the cute graphics of fish, birds, and more. In the picture below, when she was learning, the program would put a bird on the boy and say “bird”, showing the word below, then add more and say “some more birds”. I love that the graphics help to explain the meaning of the words right before their very eyes. When I was reading a story to her one evening, and I had to pause to answer another child's question, she found the word, “bird” on the page and pointed it out to me. I was surprised and pleased that she now recognizes this word!
I was worried I wasn't using it enough
A student should really use this program four or five days a week to be really successful. What is amazing about this program is that you can print reports at any time to see your children's progress. I knew I was going to be very busy at this time in my life for this review and my own personal goal for reviewing this program was to have the children get on it at least three days per week. We had illnesses and a long vacation (and packing for and unpacking to go with that) during this review as well as scheduled events like homeschool co-op group, 4-H club (which happens during the homeschool day), etc. On top of all that, we are down to one vehicle and my dishwasher and dryer broke (we are so hard on these machines, we should probably buy industrial use ones), taking even more time out of my life. When I am reviewing a program, I want to be sitting next to my child while they are using it so I can make a good judgement about it to be able to tell my readers. I don't feel like I could say, “Okay, Mason, you use this while mom washes the breakfast dishes (for my family of 9)”. I really felt quite frenzied and unscheduled for this review period and didn't pay attention to or schedule their use. Finally, I thought, “I will just check to see how poorly we are doing at getting on here” and was amazed to see that they were actually using it an average of 3 days per week each! And that their progress was considered “good”. Okay, now I love this program even more because it calms down a frenzied mom of many!
Feature: Adjustable Response Time
I have never had a program where I could adjust the response time or how fast things move on the screen. I really like that feature! You can see below that I have Mason set at 150% more time and Miranda set at 25% more time. There are other adjustable options as well.
It was fun, but I like to click with the mouse, pushing letter buttons is hard. When it (a learning section) is hard, I can go back and do it again, I like that so I can do better.
I like to do reading on the computer instead of the book. I don't have to write anything down. I know where lots of letters are on the keyboard now! One word game was kind of boring, but I like all of the ones with birds!
I really enjoyed using this program with my children. There are so many cute and useful things I didn't even mention above for the sake of time, like the diploma you can print off at the end of each level that has your child's name on it, the cute little dinosaur that talks to you and the fact that if your child tries to click on something else (gets distracted) during the program, an error message comes up.
I do think this program is “the answer” to our reading struggles. We are not very far into this program yet and because I was in the middle of another reading program this year when I started it, I will use ASD Reading as a supplement this year as we are almost finished with that book and our family normally takes a summer break. We may use this in the summer just for fun (and learning) to keep things fresh in our minds a few times a week. In September, I may use it as their reading program for the next year. It is really a great program. I think it teaches in the way that Mason and Miranda need to learn from.
I know this is a large investment for a reading program, and you always wonder, will they like it? I know what you mean, I think each child learns a little differently and what works for 5 kids, may not work for 1. Thankfully, ASD Reading allows you to try it out with your child free for 30 days to see if it will work out or not, so you really have nothing to lose in trying it out! You may be surprised like I was to see that it is working, even with limited use.
How to find them:
- Website: http://www.asdreading.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/readingkingdom
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/readingkingdom
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/readingkingdom/
The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew has a great team of people who have also used and reviewed other books from ASD Reading as well as Reading Kingdom (for neurotypical children) so click the banner below to see all the reviews:
Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to sharing more great curriculum reviews throughout the coming year.
Check out the latest from my blog here and subscribe below so you never miss a post.
Please share this post.
Join the newsletter
Subscribe to receive our latest articles and promotional content by email from NeededInTheHome