Fong, K. N. K., Ma, W. Y., Pang, H. K., Tang, P. P. K., & Law, L. L. F. (2019). Immediate effects of coloured overlays on the reading performance of preschool children with an autism spectrum disorder using eye tracking . Research in Developmental Disabilities , 89 , 141–148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2019.03.012
Fong, K. N. K., Ma, W. Y., Pang, H. K., Tang, P. P. K., & Law, L. L. F. (2019). Immediate effects of coloured overlays on the reading performance of preschool children with an autism spectrum disorder using eye tracking. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 89, 141–148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2019.03.012
The effects of Irlen-type colored overlays were examined; there were 10 different colors available, and participants self-selected their preferences.
Preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their peers without disabilities were compared for reading performance when using colored overlays. Forty (40) preschool children from Hong Kong participated, 20 with a diagnosis of ASD and 20 with no reported disabilities. Participants with and without autism were matched in pairs by chronological age to ensure similarity. Additional demographics, such as sex (male/female), and other characteristics, such as IQ scores, were reported for participants.
The reading task was for these young participants to orally read a series of up to 48 single-digit numbers listed in randomized order; each of 36 participants completed the task four times. Their performance was measured for accuracy and speed; the number of errors was counted, eye gaze fixation—"area of interest"—was recorded by eye tracker, and time elapsed was counted by digital stopwatch.
In the unaccommodated condition, group means for participants with autism were similar to participants without disabilities in number of errors, reading speed, and eye gaze. Participants with autism, on average, and participants without disabilities, on average, had no significant improvement in number of errors, reading speed, and eye gaze between the no-accommodation and the colored-overlays conditions. Although no significant benefits from colored overlays were calculated at the group level, a small number of large gains in reading speed were noted: two preschool children without disabilities and two preschool children with autism read aloud 11–30% faster; additionally, six of each group read up to 10% faster. Similarly, when using the colored overlays, some students with autism were able to spend less time focusing on each numeral before reading it and made fewer errors (than when reading numbers in the plain black-and-white condition), but not to a significantly different degree.