Enhancing Phonics Instruction for Autistic Students: An Exploration of Dual Coding Theory and the Chatta Approach
Proficiency in reading is fundamental to both academic success and life-long learning. Yet, 38% of disadvantaged 11-year-olds in England leave primary school below the expected reading standard (DfE, 2022), and 43% of English adults struggle with understanding basic health information due to inadequate reading skills (NHS). Amid global crises of learning poverty, austerity, and inequality, there is an urgent need for pedagogical innovations that ensure equitable education, particularly for students with disabilities. This study employs the dual coding theory and the Chatta approach in a 5-week intervention, aiming to enhance phonics instruction for 10 autistic students aged 7-9 in a UK special school setting. This personalised, multisensory instruction utilises visual aids and the Chatta software to create narratives using images and audio recordings, enriching phonics learning through letter-sound recognition and decoding skills. The impact on students' reading skills is assessed through pre- and post-intervention reading progression measures.
Further to the primary pedagogical benefits, this study also acknowledges the additional advantage of nurturing digital literacy from an early age, thus promoting the integration of technology in learning processes, an essential skillset in our increasingly digitised world. Emphasising the importance of intersectional approaches, the study highlights the potential of tailored teaching strategies in promoting educational equity and combating learning poverty. The anticipated long-term outcome is an improved phonics and engagement with reading among the participants, contributing to better life opportunities for autistic learner
- Has passed accessibility checks