It is never too early to start reading to your child, whether s/he is typically developing, mildly delayed, or has a severe disability. Shared book reading is beneficial for all children and can be an effective intervention tool for children with disabilities.
For all young children, book reading:
- exposes children to emergent literacy;
- fosters vocabulary growth;
- aids in the development of narrative skills (important for reading comprehension and writing);
- helps engagement in social participation;
- supports entry into later true literacy skills.
As an effective language intervention for children with severe disabilities, shared book reading can be used to support the following goals:
- enhanced participation in interactions
- vocabulary growth
- general linguistic development
In addition to daily reading, other language and pre-literacy activities are also enjoyable and valuable:
- playing word games
- arranging magnetic letters
- identifying letters and words in different environments
The benefits of reading and literacy are as important for children with delays and disabilities as they are for other children, especially because reading may aid in the development of many other areas of communication.
Adapted from: “Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Services for People With Severe Disabilities” by Krista Wilkinson. November 22, 2011 ASHA Leader