Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Uncommon Learner: The Home Language and Literacy Practices of Children with Autism
by Fahnrich, Tiah Asare, Ph.D., Hofstra University, 2018, 177; 10829873
Abstract (Summary)

This case study examines the home language and literacy events and practices of two families with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. These families are immigrants from Peru and Pakistan, they are multilingual and from working class backgrounds. Specifically, this study explores how these families create meaningful opportunities to provide language and literacy development for their children. In families who have children with ASD, there are few studies addressing language and literacy practices through a sociolinguistic and sociocultural lens. This study focuses on how parents in diverse families support language and literacy. The study contributes to the development of partnerships between home and school settings or between families and the school environment.

Through interviews and observations, the parents in this study share rich and detailed narratives of their parenting experiences, thus detailing how their families use their home environment and their cultural backgrounds to find meaningful ways to provide opportunities of language and literacy development. These include the rituals of religious practices such as Ramadan, and the activity of preparing and serving cultural specific meals. The emerging data from their stories resulted in the creation of such various cross themes as: language and literacy learning (families create unique and structured spaces in their homes that provide meaningful and purposeful demonstrations of language and literacy); authentic home and public experiences (families use ongoing and designed family activities to provide opportunities for children to engage in and observe natural language interactions); and cultural values (families modify and adapt their social and cultural events to include their children in their family literacy practices, which supports learning, language and literacy development. This research aspires to add to the current literature supporting the learning of children with autism, as well as on studies that investigate families from diverse backgrounds who have a child with special needs. The findings bring forward implications for including family literacy histories and cultural practices into the teaching and treating of this population; the importance of teachers and other practitioners to conduct home visits to understand families’ experiences, strengths and values; and the need for closer partnership relationships between families and professionals.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Goodman, Debra
Commitee: Blue, Elfreda, Flurkey, Alan, Henry, Jeanne, McDonald, Mary
School: Hofstra University
Department: Literacy Studies
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 79/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Education, Special education, Reading instruction, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Autism, Bilingual, Family literacy, Multicultural education, Sociolinguistics, Technology
Publication Number: 10829873
ISBN: 978-0-438-07596-2
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