Research Results

This literacy curriculum was evaluated by Dr. Janice Light and Dr. David McNaughton through a series of research studies funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) as part of the Rehabilitation Research Center on Communication Enhancement (The AAC-RERC) (grant # H133E030018).

Overview of the research studies

Each of the studies:

  • Used a single subject multiple baseline across participants experimental design
  • Targeted a different literacy skill
  • Employed the instructional materials and procedures described in this website



A total of 10 individuals have participated in the research project to date.

Participants include learners of various ages:

  • Children as young as 3 and 4 years of age
  • Older individuals who never had the opportunity for literacy instruction

Participants include learners with a wide range of special needs:

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • Developmental apraxia
  • Multiple disabilities (vision, hearing, and motor impairments)
  • All of the participants have complex communication needs.

They communicate using many different means, including:

  • Speech and speech approximations
  • Signs and gestures
  • Communication boards with pictures
  • PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
  • Speech generating devices (SGDs) or computers



The literacy instruction participants received:

  • followed the procedures described in this website
  • used the materials described in the website
  • was conducted in one on one sessions at the learner’s home, preschool, or school
  • was typically scheduled 1-2 times per week for approximately 30-45 minutes per session.
    • This amount of instruction was not ideal.
    • Ideally, participants would have received instruction daily.
    • Results illustrate outcomes in less than ideal circumstances.



All of the participants made substantial gains as a result of the literacy instruction.

  • All of the participants learned all of the letter-sound correspondences.
  • All of the participants acquired phonological awareness skills such as sound blending and phoneme segmentation.
  • They learned to apply these skills during decoding and writing activities.
  • All of the participants learned to read simple words.
  • All of the participants learned to apply their decoding/sight word recognition skills during shared reading activities.
  • All of the participants learned to read and understand simple sentences and stories.

Click here to see videos of the students’ success stories.


Last Updated: August 31, 2012