Using HeadSprout Early Reading with a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder: An examination of phonological awareness, participant engagement, and participant enjoyment
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This study examined the effectiveness of a 9-week reading program in improving the phonological awareness (PA) skills of a seven year old boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). The study’s secondary goal was to describe how the participant engaged with and enjoyed the HeadSprout computer program. The participant attended a one hour reading program incorporating 30 minutes of HeadSprout Early Reading three days a week for 9 weeks. Results demonstrated that the participant’s PA scores increased from the 16th percentile at pre-test to the 35th percentile post program. Four of five measures of PA increased, segmenting nonwords decreased to the 2nd percentile post program. Momentary time sampling procedures revealed the participant was engaged with the computer program 94.5% of the time. Perceived ratings of enjoyment indicated the participant enjoyed using the program. Specific components of the program which may have influenced participant enjoyment and engagement are discussed. Study limitations and implications of these findings are discussed in reference to future research.