Using rhythm to teach spelling to a child with autism
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The purpose of this study was to develop a multimodal spelling acquisition program (MSAP) for children with autism that capitalizes on sensory perception skills that may be intact with this population to teach early spelling skills. Progress was monitored through seven phases: pre-assessment, baseline probe, acquisition probe, instruction sessions, post-assessment, and maintenance probes of the treatment. MSAP provides for three spelling instructional conditions: (1) instruction with rhythmic auditory feedback in the form of Morse Code presented via speakers at 450 Hz, (2) instruction with rhythmic tactile feedback of Morse Code presented via a bone oscillator, and (3) instruction without feedback. The MSAP program recorded the child's performance for spelling accuracy and rate for each word during the assessment probes. Although the child acquired spelling knowledge of the target words, the statistical analysis revealed no significant difference in the spelling acquisition between the instruction conditions. The computerized instruction did generalize to untaught words. This study's limitations and future directions are discussed.