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Hiding in Plain Sight: Text Comprehension, Hyperlexia, and Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Abstract

Purpose Reading comprehension is a critical skill for success in academic, social, and vocational settings. However, comprehension problems for readers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are often overlooked during the period when most children are learning to read, masked by strong early decoding skills, a good memory for specific facts, and an understanding of concrete content. As students progress through the grades, the content of what they must read to be successful becomes increasingly complex and the comprehension deficit, present but unrecognized from the earliest interactions with text, is revealed. This article provides an overview of how the core deficits of individuals with ASD impact on the reading comprehension and academic success of older students. Conclusion Identification and intervention to address the underlying comprehension deficit has the potential to provide benefit in academic and personal pursuits of adolescent readers with ASD.

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