Reading aloud improves executive function of children with autism spectrum disorder: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Yoshiyuki Tachibana, Yeonhee Hwang, Yoshihisa Abe, Saori Goto, Kuniaki Sugai, Ryuta Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: We propose a new cognitive rehabilitation program, which relies on reading aloud, for elementary school students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study examined reading aloud by children with ASD, hypothesizing that this process would improve the cognitive functions and mental health of these children. Methods: Eleven children (ages: 8 - 10 years old) and their mothers participated in this study. They were randomly allocated into the intervention group (6 children) or the control group (five children). The children of the intervention group were asked to read books aloud for 30 min a day five times a week for 5 weeks. The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), the Digit Span, the Span-board, the Raven's colored Progressive Matrices, and the Child Behavior Check List (CBCL) were used in assessing the effectiveness of this program in improving their cognitive abilities. Results: The primary outcome was "Perseverative errors "of the WCST. The secondary outcomes were "Categories achieved "of the WCST, forward span-board task, backward span-board task, forward digit span, backward digit span, and the total score of the RCPM. Post-pre changes in the test scores of the intervention group were compared with those of the control group by Mann-Whitney's U-tests. Significant improvements were shown in "Perseverative errors "and"Categories achieved "of the WCST, and "Depression/ Anxiety "of the CBCL. Conclusions: The results revealed that reading aloud improved the children's executive function and mental health. The results also indicate that reading aloud can be used for cognitive rehabilitation of children with ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-101
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal on Disability and Human Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Feb


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Executive function
  • Mental health
  • Pilot randomized controlled trial
  • Reading aloud

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Sensory Systems
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing
  • Speech and Hearing


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